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Is Climate Change Fueling a Deadly Disease in California and Other Parched States?

Environmental changes may be to blame for spiking rates of an often misdiagnosed and potentially fatal disease.

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Rebecca Plevin reported that 200 inmates in California, mostly from the San Joaquin Valley, are hospitalized a year because of valley fever. “A study by the state prison health system found that the rate of valley fever in Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga was 600 times the rate found outside the prison walls in Fresno County,” she wrote. “On top of that, research studies have shown that blacks are far more likely to develop the most serious form of the disease. The prison population has a higher proportion of blacks than whites, and prisoner advocates criticize state and federal agencies for putting black inmates in harm’s way.”  

A new federal health order is seeking the relocation of 3,000 highly at-risk inmates from two San Joaquin Valley prisons.

Tara Lohan is a freelance writer and former senior editor at AlterNet. She is the editor of two books on the global water crisis, including Water Matters: Why We Need to Act Now to Save Our Most Critical Resource. Follow her on Twitter @TaraLohan or visit her website, taralohan.com.

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