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Getting Answers: Contracting Valley Fever, COVID-19

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TUCSON- With summer and monsoon on the horizon, one respiratory illness that pops up in parts of the southwest is Valley Fever.

The fungal infection is transmitted by breathing coccidioides spores.

In areas like Phoenix and Tucson, about one in 100 people will contract Valley Fever each year, according to Banner Health.

With the coronavirus still present, this leaves some to wonder the risk of contracting both at the same time, and if a person has Valley Fever, will they be at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19?

Dr. John Galgiani, an infectious disease specialist with Banner University Medical Center - Tucson, said that it is possible to contract both at the same time, however, the odds are very low.

"For those who have had Valley Fever in the past, there is no reason to believe they are at higher risk for contracting COVID-19, as Valley Fever does not interfere with or weaken a person's immune system," Galgiani said.

Both illnesses share similar symptoms like fever, chest pain, cough, shortness of breath and fatigue. Also, people can be asymptomatic as well.

Doctor Galgiani said that their general patterns are different.

"COVID-19 causes a more acute illness," he said. "Chronic COVID-19 illnesses have not been evident. In contrast, while Valley Fever sometimes starts abruptly, it typically continues for weeks to several months before symptoms completely resolve."

If you have a question about the coronavirus, email GettingAnswers@KVOA.com.

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Priscilla Casper

Priscilla Casper is an anchor and multi-skilled journalist for News 4 Tucson. She anchors weekdays at noon and 4 p.m.

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