BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County had the highest number of valley fever cases in the state last year, according to new data.
The California Department of Public Health is reporting that Kern had a total of 3,371 cases, a rate of 368 cases per 100,000 people. That marks about a 12 percent increase from the 2,949 cases reported in 2018.
Statewide, 9,004 valley fever cases were reported, the highest number of cases since individual case information became available in 1995, according to CDPH. In 2018, 7,625 cases were reported.
Other Central Valley counties including Tulare, Kings and Fresno counties also ranked high in case numbers. Nearly 60 percent of total cases were from the Valley, the state’s report shows.
Valley fever is an illness caused by a fungus that lives in soil and dirt. People and animals can contract the illness by breathing in the fungus spores.
Symptoms of the illness include fever, cough, chest pain, muscle or joint aches, tiredness, headaches, weight loss and rash. In rare cases, the illness can lead to death.