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Reporting on Health Collaborative

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Reporters investigating the impact of valley fever in California dug up striking information about the disease's financial costs to taxpayers. Here's how they did it.

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Californians are locked into contributing millions to treat the rising number of prisoners sickened by valley fever.

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At age 52, Bakersfield Police Captain Archie Scott was healthy and extremely fit. Then valley fever ended his career. “We didn’t know what we were dealing with,” he said.

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Valley fever is a drain on taxpayers. An estimated 60 percent of valley fever-related hospitalizations - resulting in charges of close to $2 billion over 10 years in California alone - are covered by government programs.

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Beginning this weekend, we explore the human cost of this disease by asking those who are suffering to share their stories.

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“I was really lost,” Candice said of her mother's death from valley fever in 2009. “She was my best friend.”

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Valley Fever affects each of its victims differently. Here, three patients share how the disease has deeply affected their lives and their families.

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The press coverage by the Reporting on Health Collaborative exposed just how little attention the airborne fungal infection has received from officials at all levels of government. This has to end.

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Behind the increasing cases of valley fever in California are people whose lives have been forever changed by the disease.

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Ask someone about an infectious disease that scares them. Chances are good they will not mention valley fever. But doctors compare it to cancer because of the way it feeds on tissue and keeps coming back.



The pandemic is far from over but crucial COVID-19 protections and benefits are gone. In our next webinar, we'll explore the end of renter protections, unemployment benefits and other emergency relief, and what it means for the nation’s pandemic recovery and the health and well-being of low-income people and their communities. Glean story ideas and crucial context. Sign-up here!

Are you passionate about helping journalists understand and illuminate the social factors that contribute to health and health disparities at a time when COVID-19 has highlighted the costs of such inequities? Looking to play a big role in shaping journalism today in the United States?  Apply now for one of our positions. 


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