TECHNOLOGY

Valley fever is common in the hotter and drier western United States


Over the following decades, researchers discovered some important facts about valley fever. They found that it is endemic to certain regions of the world, that the fungi that cause the disease live in the soil, that the majority of those infected with it do not show symptoms, and most importantly, that weather patterns and seasonal climatic conditions have an impact on the spread of the disease. coronidia.

few years In the past, Morgan Juris, an Earth systems scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, decided to investigate an important question: What makes a place hospitable? Kochi? I soon discovered that mushrooms grow in a range of specific conditions. The US counties, where valley fever is endemic, have an average annual temperature of more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit and receive 600 millimeters of rain annually. “It was basically hot, dry counties,” Gorris says. I stuck the geographic areas that met those criteria on the map and overlayed them with CDC estimates about the place Kochi grow. The counties, which stretch from West Texas through the Southwest to California (with a small spot in Washington) are certainly identical.

But then, Joris took her analysis a A step further. She decided to consider what would happen to Valley Fever under a high emissions climate change scenario. In other words, whether the disease would spread if humans continued to emit greenhouse gases as usual. “Once I did, I found that by the end of the 21st century, most of the western United States could be endemic for valley fever,” she said. “Our endemic area could extend as far north as the border between the United States and Canada.”

There is reason to believe this Kochi Expansion may already be happening, said Bridget Parker, a researcher at Northern Arizona University. Parts of Utah, Washington, and northern Arizona have had a recent outbreak of valley fever. “This worries us because, yes, it would indicate that it is happening now,” Parker said. “If we look at the overlap with soil temperatures, we really see that Kochi It appears to be somewhat restricted by freezing.” Parker is still working on establishing the soil temperature threshold for Kochi fungi; But, in general, the fact that more and more of the United States could have conditions ready for it soon Kochi She said the spread is worrying.

There is an enormous economic burden associated with the potential expansion of valley fever into new areas. conducted by Goris separate analysis Based on future warming scenarios, they found that by the end of the century, the average total annual cost of catching valley fever could rise to $18.5 billion annually, up from $3.9 billion today.

Juris research looks how and where Kochi It may move as the climate warms. But what is behind the rise in cases? Kochi Already well established, as in Ventura, where Jesse Merrick’s family home burned down, the field of investigation remains.

Jesse thinks the cause of his valley fever is clear. “I clearly see a connection between the fires and valley fever,” he told Greste. But scientists aren’t quite sure what environmental factors drive it Kochi Dispatch, as well as government officials.

in a December 2018 BulletinRobert Levine, Ventura County Health Officer, questioned their relationship Kochi and forest fires. “As a Ventura County Health Officer, I don’t see a clear link between wildfires and Kochi infection,” noting that only one of the 4,000 firefighters who worked at Thomas Fire in 2017 had valley fever. Jennifer Head, a doctoral student at UC Berkeley who works in a lab that studies the effects of wildfires on valley fever, did not see Plenty of evidence supports such an association as well. “The media talk a lot about bushfires and valley fever, and the general speculation is that wildfires will increase valley fever.” But the closest thing Head found to link the two was a non-peer-reviewed summary – a scientific summary – It is not attached to a larger sheet.



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