BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern County Board of Supervisors has declared August as “Valley Fever Awareness Month” as of Tuesday morning.

The declaration comes after Kern County Public Health officials said there were 3,045 cases of valley fever, which includes 50 more cases than those reported in 2020. The 2022 case numbers are expected for next month.

Valley Fever is an endemic illness caused by breathing in a microscopic fungus that lives in the soil and dirt. About 60% of infected people will not develop symptoms, but people who do develop symptoms can develop a fever or cough, and have chest pain, muscle or joint aches, tiredness, headaches, weight loss and rash.

In severe infections, the fungus can infect the brain, joints, bone, skin or other organs and in rare cases, the infection can lead to death.

For more information on Valley Fever, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.