A bill by Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, to direct more resources to fighting valley fever, passed the Assembly Committee on Health Tuesday, his office said Wednesday.
The bill, AB 1279, passed by a vote of 14-0 and now advances to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.
The legislation would allocate $2 million for valley fever research, require the Department of Public Health to conduct annual education and awareness outreach, and establish a workgroup to improve timely and accurate monitoring of valley fever infections.
“AB 1279 marks an important step toward helping the families affected by valley fever,” Salas said in a news release. “This bill will bring needed funding to valley fever research and enhance the way we track infections so that families affected by this disease have the resources they need.”
Between 1999 and 2011, the rate of infection of valley fever in California rose more than 600 percent, from 939 to 5,697 cases, according to Centers for Disease Control statistics cited by Salas' office.
Last week, Kern County reported valley fever killed six people and infected nearly 2,000 people last year — a 62 percent increase and the highest number of cases since 2012.
In just the first month of 2017, there were 26 confirmed cases of valley fever in San Luis Obispo County, resulting in two deaths, Salas' office said.