Videos

Mystery Lung Fungus: Are You at Risk?

Valley fever is hard to diagnose, even harder to treat, and potentially fatal—and the number of cases is rising dramatically.

Karen Deeming was a healthy 48-year-old living in Los Banos, California, and working on her master's degree in anthropology and archaeology. Then, in late 2012, a few weeks after returning from a dig in Mariposa, California, Karen began to feel sick. A chest x-ray turned up bilteral pneumonia and masses in her lungs.

What followed was eight months of debilitating illness. And she's not better yet.

If you suspect that Karen had lung cancer, you're wrong. She had something else—and she isn't alone. Cases of her illness are on the rise: In 1998, there were 2,000. In 2011, there were around 23,000.

To find out what Karen's illness is—and whether you're at risk—watch the video above.

 

About the Authors

  • Brett Brownell is the Multimedia Producer at Mother Jones, and has visited all 50 states. He also helped launch MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes as a video and web producer, served as new media director for the employee rights organization Workplace Fairness, and founded the annual global photography event Worldwide Moment in 2007. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-T.V. and grew up in Arlington, Texas.
  • Kiera Butler is a senior editor at Mother Jones.