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Rachel Cook

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Many questions about valley fever remained unanswered Tuesday as public health officials, physicians and politicians finished a two-day symposium on the disease, but many were hopeful that the summit will be a turning point.

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Directors of the National Institutes of Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell a packed valley fever symposium they are "serious" about finding a better treatment for the disease.

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On Monday, valley fever and the California area hit hardest by it will receive unprecedented attention in a two-day symposium led by U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield. Rarely do the leaders of CDC and the NIH - two of the most powerful health institutions in the world - join the stage.

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Survivors and their loved ones walk to support research for valley fever. Physicians were also on hand at the event to answer questions about how the disease affects humans.

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Zoo animals, pets and animals in the wild contract valley fever the same way people do, by inhaling spores from a fungus.

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