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Just One Breath

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The bill would bring $2 million to an already-established state fund for valley fever vaccine research and create guidelines for how local, state and federal agencies report cases.
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When Juan Solis shuffles out of his dark bedroom, he’s careful not to get too close to the windows. He only walks his dogs at night. That's because Solis has extreme light sensitivity, caused by valley fever.
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It pays to heed incremental advances in health research and to learn from what doesn't work in reporting projects. And don't forget to stay positive on the future of health journalism. Contributor William Heisel shares more takeaways from Health Journalism 2014 in part two of his two-part series.

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As with much of the science around valley fever, the evidence base is still being built -- studies are scarce; data collection was erratic for years and continues to be spotty; and understanding the health effects of weather is a big, complicated task.

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A recent report by a federal agency found that prison workers who live in the community are suffering from valley fever in large numbers. In their case, the prisons themselves cannot easily be blamed.

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Directors of the National Institutes of Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell a packed valley fever symposium they are "serious" about finding a better treatment for the disease.

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On Monday, valley fever and the California area hit hardest by it will receive unprecedented attention in a two-day symposium led by U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield. Rarely do the leaders of CDC and the NIH - two of the most powerful health institutions in the world - join the stage.

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Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-California) seeks to get funding for valley fever vaccine research and is working with the CDC to get a clinical trial to determine best treatment for the disease.

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The CDC's research on valley fever's impact in California and Arizona was both an unexpected validation of the Reporting on Health Collaborative's work and an encouragement to do more of the same.

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A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, issued last week, shows that the incidence of valley fever cases is up an astounding 850 percent over the past decade-.

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Want to improve your data journalism skills?  Apply now for the $2,000 California Data Fellowship -- four all-expenses-paid days of training on data acquisition, analysis and visualization, a $2,000 reporting grant and six months of expert mentoring.  Dates:  October 17-20. Deadline: August 27.

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