The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is encouraging residents to take steps to stay safe from Valley fever. It is especially important in Arizona, where the fungus that causes the lung infection grows naturally in the soil during late fall and winter months.

Two-thirds of all Valley fever cases in the nation are reported in Arizona and the number of cases in the state has been noticeably increasing since 2016. In 2022, more than 9,500 Arizonans contracted Valley fever and 75 died from the disease.

The months of November to January have historically had a higher number of cases. When wind, gardening, farming, yard work, or construction disturbs the soil the fungus lives in, the fungus can become airborne and enter people’s (and animals’) lungs, making them ill. Some people are particularly vulnerable to severe illness from Valley fever. Older adults, people with weakened immune systems, people with diabetes, and pregnant people should especially take measures to protect themselves.

ADHS says that there are a few ways that residents can protect themselves: avoid blowing dust; stay inside during a dust storm; wet the ground when doing any gardening or construction work; wear an N95 respirator if you expect to be exposed to blowing dust; and wash your hands thoroughly after working in the soil.

For more information, visit and search “Valley Fever” in the A-Z Index.


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