Bakersfield’s Kern Medical has selected to work with the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control on a new clinical trial for valley fever. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made the announcement Thursday at the hospital. The study aims to learn more about both diagnosing and treating the disease.
Valley Fever is caused by a fungus that grows in the soil throughout the southwest, including the Southern San Joaquin Valley. If inhaled it can cause serious health problems, those most people never know they have been infected.
According to officials at the hospital, Valley Fever is estimated to be responsible up to 30 percent of all community-acquired cases of pneumonia.
From a press release by Kern Medical announcing the news:
Many patients are often misdiagnosed and physicians may not consider Valley Fever until patients fail to show signs of improvement. As a result, antifungal medication, the preferred treatment for Valley Fever, is often delayed. The clinical trial will assess the impact of early antifungal treatment in adult patients diagnosed with pneumonia.
The trial will be conducted by the Duke Clinical Research Institute, the world’s largest academic research organization, with Kern Medical Valley Fever experts serving in an advisory capacity.