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Congressman Panetta Co-Introduces the End Valley Fever Now Act

December 20, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) announced he co-introduced H.R. 5438, the End Valley Fever Now Act to address the potentially deadly disease caused by breathing toxic spores found in soil. Congressman TJ Cox (CA-21) is the lead sponsor of the bill.

"Cases of Valley Fever in communities across the Central Coast have skyrocketed over the last few years. The End Valley Fever Now Act will help train our local medical providers to diagnose and treat those exposed to this disease. It will also help us to be more proactive in vaccine development by collecting critical clinical data," said Congressman Panetta. "Our legislation is an important step forward in combatting this disease and protecting our community members."

"Valley Fever can be deadly and troubling data shows it’s only going to get worse with climate change," said Congressman Cox. "In discussions across the Central Valley and at my valley fever town hall in October, I heard from patients, experts, and advocates whose lives have been impacted by the disease. We must bring more awareness and education as well as access to faster diagnosis and clinical trials. My bill does just that for the thousands who have contracted Valley Fever and the millions across California and the Southwest at risk for infection. Central Valley families should be able to work and play outdoors without fear of valley fever, and for those who do have it, we need the best, most advanced care to save their lives."

"As the number of Valley Fever cases increases due to changing weather patterns and climate change, we must do more to understand this illness and how we can remove barriers to care for impacted individuals," said Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03). "This legislation funds much-needed research on Valley Fever while improving access to clinical trials for those living in endemic areas—including Southern Arizona. This will provide us with new information on how we can better diagnose and treat new cases and help our communities."

"Valley Fever is a huge problem in our area – especially for our farmers and farmworkers – we have to be more aggressive in offering and improving access to treatment, and warning folks about the risks involved," said Congressman Josh Harder (CA-10). "This bill signals our commitment to bringing the federal support we need to the Valley to help folks affected by this dangerous condition."

"Valley fever is a serious and sometimes deadly disease that’s on the rise and disproportionately affects our farm laborers. We need to take steps to ensure patients are getting the care they need. This bill will provide training for doctors to learn more about the disease and help remove some of the financial barriers that can prevent patients from receiving treatment," said Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16).

"Valley fever is an issue all too familiar to me; this largely unexplored disease disproportionately affects Arizonans and constituents in my district, infecting thousands every year and contributing to far too many deaths," said Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01). "This bill will provide physician training, education, and funding to study the effectiveness of current diagnosis and treatment practices, and work towards ending this disease."

"In college, I fell victim to a Valley Fever infection, and I remember how awful and incredibly inconvenient it was. Nearly two-thirds of Valley Fever cases are contracted in Arizona and there is still so much unknown about the disease. I am proud to support this bill because we need to be able to fund the research and resources needed to fight the disease. I know we have the intelligence and science technologies to learn more about it and find ways to combat it, we just need the funding to do it. Speaking from experience, it’s time to end Valley Fever," said Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02).

"I am proud to join with Congressman Cox and our colleagues to introduce legislation that will enhance our ability to identify and treat valley fever, which affects so many people in the American Southwest," said Congressman Ruben Gallego (AZ-07).