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Moving closer to a valley fever vaccine - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Moving closer to a valley fever vaccine

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Dr. John Galgiani calls it "The Valley Fever Corridor", a 150-mile stretch between Tucson and Phoenix where nearly 70 percent of all valley fever infections happen.

"Two out of three infections in the whole country occur in the 150 miles of I-10 between here and Phoenix," Dr. John Galgiani said.

To try and treat valley fever, Dr. Galgiani and his team at the University of Arizona's Valley Fever Center for Excellence have developed a vaccine.

One they hope will be tested in dogs by the end of the year.

"And if the vaccine was safe and effective it would just stop the risk," Galgiani said.

Caused by a fungus found in the dirt, the number of valley fever cases has nearly doubled this year.

The Arizona Health Department has reported 3,660 cases since January.

Add to that the fact that the disease is primarily found in animals and you can see why Dr. Galgiani said a vaccine is so important

Officials say that if tests are successful a vaccine for dogs could be available withing three years. 

Testing on humans could begin after that.

"People have been interested in trying to find one since the 1950s. And so, if we were able to do it it would be quite an event," Galgiani said.

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