What is Valley Fever?
The technical name for Valley Fever is Coccidioidomycosis, or “Cocci” for short. It is a lung infection that is a sickness of degree. About sixty percent of the people exposed do not get sick at all. For some, it may feel like a cold or the flu. For those sick enough to go see the doctor, it can be serious, with pneumonia-like symptoms, requiring medication and bed rest. In individuals who develop the disseminated form (one or more out of two hundred people infected) the disease can be devastating, even fatal. These are the cases in which the disease spreads beyond the lungs through the blood stream – typically to the skin, bones or membranes surrounding the brain, causing meningitis.
What is the Cause?
Valley Fever is caused by Coccidioides immitis, a fungus somewhat like yeast or mildew which lives in the soil. The spores become airborne when the uncultivated soil is disturbed and are inhaled into the lungs where the infection starts. The disease is not contagious from person to person and it appears that after one exposure the body will develop immunity.
Where is Valley Fever Found?
The known endemic areas include: portions of the Sacramento Valley, all of the San Joaquin Valley, desert regions and southern portions of California, much of the southwestern United States, northern Mexico and some areas of Central and South America.
Why a Vaccine Now?
The development of a vaccine is considered the only way to prevent this disease that costs so much, not only in terms of dollars, but also in human suffering.
What is the Valley Fever Vaccine Project of the Americas?
The Valley Fever Vaccine Project of the Americas includes representatives from Rotary District 5240 and other Rotary Clubs in the state of California, District 4160 in Mexico and the Cabo San Lucas Rotary Club of Rotary District 4100 in Baja California. The project is now being expanded to include Rotary Clubs in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, the southern tip of Utah, Central America and South America.
What is the Valley Fever Americas Foundation?
The Valley Fever Americas Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt foundation founded and operated by active Rotarians with a purpose of raising sufficient contributions to fund the research, development and clinical testing of a vaccine to prevent the devastating, sometimes fatal disease – Valley Fever.
Who Governs the Valley Fever Americas Foundation?
The Valley Fever Americas Foundation is controlled by a board of directors consisting of seven active Rotarians from Rotary District 5240 who have expert layman knowledge of the disease and of the mission needed in the development of a vaccine for Valley Fever.
Where is the Contribution Repository?
All tax-exempt contributions to the Valley Fever Vaccine Project of the Americas will be deposited into a bank account in the City of Bakersfield, County of Kern, State of California, which is under the control of the Valley Fever Americas Foundation.
Who Will Review Funds and Expenditures?
A review of the bank account, including deposits and expenditures, will be conducted annually by a certified public accounting firm.
How Will Allocation of Funds be Made?
The allocation of funds for each phase of the project will be made at the discretion of the Valley Fever Americas Foundation Board of Directors, upon recommendation of the Technical Advisory Committee.
Who is the Technical Advisory Committee?
The Technical Advisory Committee is a group of top medical experts with exceptional knowledge of vaccine research methodology.
How Much Goes to Administration or Overhead?
Contributors want to know how much of their donation will be used for administrative or overhead purposes. The answer to the question for this project is that 100 percent of all corporate and individual contributions will be allocated to the research, development or clinical testing costs in the development of a vaccine for Valley Fever. Overhead is very low and completely provided by fundraising and contributions from Rotary Clubs and by contributions by the project predecessor, Valley Fever Research Foundation.