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  1. Thanks for writing about Valley Fever. The more people know about this disease, the more likely it will be that severe cases can be prevented by early diagnosis.

    Comment by Sandra Larson — March 15, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

  2. An article that can improve the health and safety of players is the most important kind. Thank you for raising awareness, Wendy.

    Comment by Spunky — March 15, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

  3. Wendy, I have one question. Would the fact that most of the Valley Fever cases come from Maricopa County be because of the fact that is where most the population is? Or is population of that area of Arizona geographically spread out like the Central Florida and Southern California areas across multiple counties?

    I ask because one would think that a Major League player faces less of a risk if they lived outside of Maricopa County during the off season if the spores are concentrated in Maricopa County.

    Comment by Cody — March 15, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

  4. Good question. My understanding is that Maricopa has the greatest number of cases because it is the population center AND because it has a lot of activity — i.e. construction — that displaces soil, sending the spores into the air.

    Should also add that those who are part-time or new residents of Arizona (like MLB players) appear to be at greater risk because they haven’t built up an immunity to the disease.

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — March 15, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

  5. When do MLB players need to start worrying about the brown recluse spider?

    Comment by Rob — March 15, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

  6. I’m not going to complain that you wrote a well-written, educational article. But honestly, the numbers you cite (~35,000 hospitalizations a year, 2 MLBers in 3 years) make me think this should probably rank #593,345 among illnesses/injuries that MLB players should worry about. It’s not like, for a pro baseball player, there are any real precautions that can be taken.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — March 15, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

  7. When (if my reading of brown recluse’s ranges is accurate) they play for Atlanta, Texas, Houston, Kansas City, St. Louis, or Pittsburgh.

    Comment by Jorgath — March 15, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

  8. Didn’t Franklin Gutierrez have this recently too?

    Comment by Justin Bailey — March 15, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

  9. Awareness is a real precaution, valley fever is completely treatable. Conor Jackson didn’t realize he had it for a long time, and the effects have been permanent.

    Comment by Preston — March 15, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

  10. Gutierrez had an abdominal (ie, digestive) disorder that hampered him most of last season, not Valley Fever.

    Comment by geo — March 15, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

  11. If they play for KC, Pittsburgh, or Houston, they’ve already got enough problems.

    Comment by M.Twain — March 15, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

  12. If by digestive disorder you mean turned into a zombie by Milton Bradley, then yes, Gutierrez has a digestive disorder.

    Comment by Choo — March 15, 2012 @ 7:17 pm

  13. It was well known in the 1970’s that Fresno was a disease vector for Hispanics and Valley Fever. The San Joaquin Valley. is not the only place it festers yet I have not seen any new pathologies that show Hispanics are not the most likely victims. All the people I knew who contracted it were Hispanic.

    Comment by Slider — March 15, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

  14. If they play for Houston, their probably hoping for a Brown Recluse to put them out of their misery.

    Comment by Jack — March 15, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

  15. quit being dumb, there are more mlb players that have valley fever but dont know it.

    Comment by yimriyahu is a dummy — March 15, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

  16. One thing to consider is that steroids lower your immune system, so you are more likely to be susceptible to certain infections. If players don’t know this they should.

    This is not to say anyone who gets a rare infection is a steroid user.

    Comment by pft — March 15, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

  17. I lived in the Midwest all my life until I moved to the Phoenix area in 2008. About 3 months after I moved, I contracted valley fever and luckily I was diagnosed properly and treated early on. It does feel very similar to the flu that just never goes away. The major issue I had in addition to most of the flu-like symptoms, was my ear becoming plugged. It remained plugged for about 7 weeks which really caused issues with my balance to the point that it was difficult to walk in a straight line. It is definitely a scary illness.

    Comment by Justin — March 15, 2012 @ 10:17 pm

  18. Arizona is the worst, this is old news.

    Comment by West — March 16, 2012 @ 10:18 am

  19. Also, Hispanics are probably the most likely to be working in construction and in agriculture, which are where the disease is most likely to manifest….

    Comment by billybob — March 16, 2012 @ 11:42 am

  20. they don’t because it wont kill you. Black Widows are all over Arizona and are a bigger issue because they like to climb into shoes

    Comment by Nats Fan — March 16, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

  21. I say all the MLB franchises should all move back to Florida. Valley fever is a non issue there, and the state could use the boost of cash more than AZ.

    Comment by Nats Fan — March 16, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

  22. As executive director of the Phoenix-based Arizona Victims of Valley Fever, I know that the Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona is accurate in their statistics and information. Valley Fever is Arizona’s best-kept secret and one of the down sides to relocating to the state. The State Legislature and Chambers of Commerce try their best to soft pedal it so the state doesn’t lose tourist dollars. Many people–sports players, visitors, vacationers, etc.–fall victim to the disease every year. Besides this appalling reality, dogs, cats, horses and other wildlife also get infected; many die or are euthanized.And while for most people, the disease is more of an inconvenience, those who get a disseminated or chronic case can have serious problems for the rest of their life. Valley Fever can trigger meningitis, disabling fatigue, kidney problems, skeletal problems and many other complications. Hispanics, blacks (especially males), Filipinos and Native Americans are at higher risk as are people with autoimmune diseases (there are over 100 of these) and transplant patients. Any illness or medication that compromises the immune system places people at increased risk for valley fever. There is no way to prevent it, however avoiding dust storms is a must. Construction workers, archaeologists and gardeners are at increased risk due to the probability they are around recently disturbed soil, but as the spores can stay in the air for a long time, any one can get valley fever just by breathing.
    Current antifungal drugs can, at best, put the disease in remission, but there is no cure yet. One reason is that since valley fever is an orphan disease that attracts little interest from pharmaceutical companies, Arizonans looking for a permanent cure are on their own–no monetary help from the state (which takes an “ostrich” approach) and as yet no significant help from foundations and private companies. If you really want to make a difference, complain to the Arizona DHS or state legislature about its immoral and unethical stance on valley fever, a life-threatening fungal disease that the state has known about for over 50 years. For more info, go to

    Comment by Janice Arenofsky — March 16, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

  23. Two cases in the Cactus League history, it’s getting dire. Time for panic, if you ask me. I’ll buy a rubber wrist band showing I support eradicating this disease.

    Comment by deadhead — March 16, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

  24. Just give any player diagnosed with Valley Fever an exemption to use greenies…problem solved.

    Comment by NEPP — March 16, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

  25. Bronson Arroyo was eventually diagnosed with mono, but it’s good that he, like Mike Trout, was tested for valley fever. That seems to be the main point. I don’t think concern = panic or over-reaction.

    Comment by Lex Logan — March 19, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

  26. This is exactly what people need to know….I have battled this disease for the last year and have been a resident of Arizona for 8 years now….My husband has come down with the skin rash version of valley fever and my dog has also contracted it. This is Arizona’s dirty little secret that they hide because they are afraid of losing revenue. It took Arizona doctors almost 4 months to diagnose me! You would think that doctors who see it more often would know how to deal with it…maybe if the CDC makes a stink about it then the individual states who are plagued by it will no longer have the ability to downplay this horrible disease. I am pro awareness and will do anything in my power from this point to make others aware. I will be moving back to my home state of New jersey after dealing with this hidden secret. I am frustrated with a great deal about the State of Arizona! And no, i don’t reside in Maricopa County! People who don’t know the realities of the disease should probably keep their comments to themselves. As to pro baseball,yes two players in three years that have made the headlines let’s not forget about the pro golfers and the golfers who have not made it to the pro circuit who have had there careers ended because of this disease!

    Comment by Dianne — April 6, 2012 @ 8:34 am

  27. There are over 200,000 people diagnosed every year in the US. Those are just the ones reported, there are only 15 states required to report these cases. This number is more than West Nile and SARS combined yet the CDC has a major National campaign to advertise these other diseases. You do NOT have to be a construction works or work outside or in the dirt to contract this disease. All of the Federal Departments are aware of this disease for many years going all the way back to WWII. The disease at a National security level is considered a level three, the same as anthrax and listed in federal laws to be considered as a bioterrisom threat. The good news is the doctors are so close to a CURE at Valley fever center of excellence at University of Arizona and a VACCINE from TX. If you all are truly concerned and want to contribute and support the effort you need to petition your local, state and federal officials. The Federal Govt. has close to 5 billion dollars set aside for disease research to fund this cure that is out there. There also needs to be awareness brought to blood and organ donations, you might want to think about the effects of receiving blood that currently is not being screened, so you do not have to be that migrant worker or the blue collar worker to contract, that is a myth. Please help spread the good word that work is being done and a cure and vaccine is on the horizon. My husband has been a 9 year survivor with dessiminated valley fever, fungal spinal menigitis, hydrophylus all because he was mis diagnosed. The federal govt. and CDC needs to be more pro active in posting the true and accurate information to all physicians. With all of the domestic and international travel that is taking place, you may live in an area that is not considered endemic however products and produce are shipped from these areas. It is reported that close to 300,000 military men a women are affected with this disease. I think that is a little bit bigger story than 2 MLB players. Please contact you officials, lets get national recognition, American spend over $200 million annually to fight this disease and the funding for the cure is approx. $120 million and we will not have to worry about this disease anymore or where it comes from. Sincerely..

    Comment by Tammy — August 9, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  28. The fungus that causes Valley Fever, which is coccidioidomycosis, can hang out in your intestines….that will then appear to be a digestive disorder. To rule out (or confirm) Valley Fever you need a blood test for antibodies to the coccidioidomycosis fungus and a sputum test.

    Comment by Frieda — August 19, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

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