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Posted Wed Apr 15 2009: from The Daily Climate:
Valley fever blowin' on a hotter wind
It's high noon, and the 112-degree summer heat -- up from a decade ago -- stalks Arizona's Sonoran Desert. By late afternoon, dark clouds threaten, and monsoon winds beat the earth into a mass of swirling sand. Thick walls of surface soil blind drivers on the Interstate. Some health experts believe new weather conditions -- hotter temperatures and more intense dust storms fueled by global warming -- are creating a perfect storm for the transmission of coccidioidomycosis, also known as valley fever, a fungal disease endemic to the southwestern United States. How do cocci spores infect the body? Propelled by winds, thousands of soil particles and cocci spherules are inhaled. People -- particularly those older or immune-compromised -- may experience flu-like symptoms that can turn into pneumonia. If the infection disseminates, the pathogens can target any organ -- mostly the nervous system, skin, bones and joints -- and become life threatening.
[Read more stories about: airborne pollutants, climate impacts, global warming, pandemic]

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