Another challenge with data collection, Carroll Sipan, a lecturer in public health at the University of California, Merced, is that "many [farmworkers] will return to Mexico if they really get sick." In Mexico, added that valley fever is not a reporting disease. At the height of the disease it cost 1,200 dollars for two-month pills, because it had to take two to three times more than it would if they were treating a typical Candida infection. said his family often had to choose between food and medicine. He is still unable to work regularly, and his family survives mostly with the money his wife, Maria, is doing in the area.
"It has changed my life," Gutierrez said. "When I was working, I always had money in the house ̵
As 68% of approximately 800,000 farm workers in California, Gutierrez was born in Mexico. About 49% of farm workers in the state do not have work permits, and most live under the federal poverty line in unincorporated communities with few public services.
Meanwhile, the long harvest season in the Central Valley carries long hours, extreme heat and other challenging conditions. At home, these workers face limited access to health and education, a number of mental health challenges and high levels of food insecurity. Valley fever just adds to these challenges.
Isabelle Arrolo-Toland knows both sides of this story. She is the daughter of a former farm worker, and runs a small non-governmental organization, El Quinto Sol de America, which teaches agricultural workers and other recent immigrants with civilian participation in a handful of non-attached communities in Tulare County, an hour south of Fresno. Arroyo-Toland was diagnosed with fever in the valley in 2007 and again in 2008 when it spread to the skin in the form of painful lesions – and twice she endured months of misdiagnosis. Then, in 2012, she told her that her kidneys failed because of the effects of both the valley and the drugs she had relied on to cure her. Since then, she had to undergo peritoneal dialysis in her home for 10 hours each night. She is currently on the list of kidney donors.
Arrollo-Toland recommends that workers be tested for the disease at the first signs of a cold or flu. – Sometimes I will talk to a farm worker and they will say, "Oh, I have these symptoms …" And my first thing is, "You have to go and test for a fever from the valley."
She also points out the many challenges which farmers face when it comes to maintaining a healthy state – from regular exposure to pesticides and clouds of dust to a lack of fresh produce and clean water – is a growing challenge for many residents of unincorporated areas.
Antje Lauer, microbial ecologist