Woman moves to Arizona, gets valley fever meningitis

The viewer’s discretion is advised as pictures of the woman’s rash appear several times.

This week is Valley Fever Information week and a Phoenix woman shares her struggle with the disease.

Heather Roeber was new to the desert and was doing well health until valley fever left her with meningitis.

“I woke up in the middle of the night, just doubled in stomach pain. I did not know what was going on. All I knew was that my legs were burning,” Roeber said.

Heather Roeber

Pictures show her legs from earlier this year in May. The rash had spread up her legs and to her arms.

Roeber suffered from valley fever. She said it was difficult to find a pulmonologist, so she had to go to the hospital – where the news got much worse.

“They ordered a lumbar puncture when I was in the hospital, which showed that the fungus had actually spread from my lungs to my central nervous system. I had valley fever meningitis,” Roeber said.

Mayo Clinic describes the disease as: “These fungi are commonly found in soil in specific areas. The spores of the fungus can be stirred into the air by anything that disturbs the soil, such as agriculture, construction and wind.”

At the University of Arizona, researchers got a breakthrough for a vaccine that can be used to prevent valley fever in dogs – with the hope that it can be used in humans one day.

“It would be helpful to prevent valley fever in dogs, but if we showed it, it would suggest that this vaccine would give us lots of information suggesting that it should also go ahead in clinical trials in humans,” he said. John Galgiani of the College of Medicine at UArizona. “We are actively working on it now.”

Learn more about valley fever here.

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