Valley Fever

A dust-borne fungus is causing an epidemic of misery and rising mortality in central California

LORI CROWN THOUGHT she was doing the right thing last year when she moved to a dryer climate in Bakersfield, California, after being plagued by asthma attacks during her six years in Hawaii. A few months later, Crown, 35, was suffering from severe headaches, a prolonged fever of 102 degreesF, swollen feet and painful bumps on her hands and legs. The diagnosis: "valley fever," or coccidioidomycosis, a dust-borne disease caused by the microscopic spores of a fungus, Coccidioides immitis.

As a newcomer to the San Joaquin Valley, Crown was stunned to learn that the same rich topsoil that makes the region...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!