editor's pick

Valley fever, the often harmless, yet sometimes deadly respiratory disease endemic to Kern County, killed six people and infected nearly 3,000 in Kern County last year, the highest number of diagnosed cases since 1992, local public health officials announced Wednesday.

In a continuing trend of local health-care consolidation, Kern Radiology Medical Group Inc. has been purchased by a Los Angeles outpatient medical imaging company touted as the largest company of its kind in the country.

When Jennine Ochoa became pregnant at the end of 2017, she didn’t know what to expect. At 42, she’d waited longer than most women to start a family. But she said her first five months were easy. “I had no morning sickness, nothing,” she said. “It was completely uneventful until May.”

Despite opposition from health officers, the State Assembly unanimously passed two bills Thursday authored by Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, that could streamline and standardize case reporting of valley fever, a respiratory disease endemic to Kern County and the southwestern United States.