California Ordered to Move Prisoners at Risk of Valley Fever

Paige St. John, Los Angeles Times, April 30, 2013

The federal official in charge of healthcare in California prisons has directed that more than 3,000 inmates be moved out of state lockups that are infected with a lethal fungus known as valley fever.

The Monday directive from medical receiver J. Clark Kelso requires state officials to “exclude” especially vulnerable inmates from Pleasant Valley and Avenal state prisons near Coalinga in the Central Valley. The list includes HIV-infected inmates, prisoners with chronic medical conditions, African Americans, Filipinos and others of Asian descent.

“The state of California has known since 2006 that segments of the inmate population were at a greater risk for contracting valley fever,” Joyce Hayhoe, Kelso’s spokeswoman, said Monday. “Immediate steps are necessary to prevent further loss of life.”

Of the more than 8,200 inmates at the two prisons, the medical receiver estimates 40%—or 3,280—must be moved immediately.

It is not clear why certain populations are more prone to the infection than others. But from 2008 to 2010, at least 355 prisoners required hospitalization, and the receiver reported 34 deaths related to valley fever from 2006 to 2011, most of the victims African Americans.

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Health officials say they don’t know whether African Americans are more apt to contract the fungus, or more likely to become seriously ill when they do.

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  • dd121

    How does the judge plan on funding this legislation?

    • The__Bobster

      There’s always money available for really important things, like saving the lives of murderers and rapists.

  • The__Bobster

    I’m betting this disease came from our fine foreign imports, like most of the supposedly conquered maladies that are once again rearing their ugly heads.

    • Michael_C_Scott

      It’s endemic to the desert Southwest, and has been an occasional problem in California prisons for almost a century. The amusing fact here is that the state is willing to move black inmates because a fungus is killing them with lung infections, but not because Mexican inmates are stabbing them to death with shanks.

    • jambi19

      “It is not clear why certain populations are more prone to the infection than others. But from 2008 to 2010, at least 355 prisoners required hospitalization, and the receiver reported 34 deaths related to valley fever from 2006 to 2011, most of the victims African Americans.”

      There is a reason it is called Auto-IMMUNE DEFICIENCY Syndrome (AIDS).

      LOL The media does a great job of broadcasting ignorance. I am starting to second guess if it is 100% intentional.

  • Coccidioidomycosis will of course be fatal to those with advanced HIV/AIDS. A common cold will be fatal to those with adavanced HIV/AIDS. Most people who contract Coccidioidomycosis display no symptoms. Virtually everyone who lives in the Sonoran Desert catches it because everyone who lives in the Sonoran Desert breathes and therefore breathes in the fungi. In fact, there is a similar disease found in the river valleys of the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys, Histoplasmosis. Same deal: Everyone has it, few display symptoms.

    Since I live in St. Louis and have visited Phoenix often in the past, I know I have both conditions.

    • Michael_C_Scott

      If exposure is essentially universal in affected areas, but the health risks change for certain prison inmates, I wonder if this is the result of the unhealthy lifestyles many career criminals lead while out on the streets; certainly alcoholism and drug abuse wouldn’t *improve* one’s chances of fighting off an infection.

  • bigone4u

    California’s plunge into third world status seems to be accelerating. Here’s another drain on taxpayer monies that the state can ill afford. To the white citizens I say leave now while there’s a sucker that can buy your house, but don’t bring your California libtard values with you whereever you go.

  • If I have already had coccidioidomycosis, could I get it again?

    Once a person gets coccidioidomycosis, their body develops immunity to protect against future infections. However, sometimes after getting better you can have a relapse of infection. If this happens, it is important to see your healthcare provider to discuss possible treatment. Source: http://www.cdc.gov/fungal//coccidioidomycosis/risk-prevention.html

    Natural selection at work ….

  • IstvanIN

    Prison is punishment by loss of freedom, not loss of life by fungal infection, so protecting the prisoners lives makes sense, but why can’t they just get some bleach and clean the prison up to get rid of the fungus?

    • Michael_C_Scott

      According to the Wikipedia article, the fungus stays dormant during the dry season, but releases spore-forming bodies when the rains come. I imagine bleach would not be very effective, and the proper solution, installation of HEPA filtration in prison ventilation systems would be excessively expensive. Even then, inmates would be exposed on outdoor rec. yards, work crews, and such.

  • Aspiring rapper

    So if my neighborhood became infected with this fungus, all the blacks would have to move out? And they couldn’t even enter the area to steal/visit for fear of getting sick? Hmmmm…

  • StillModerated

    Conspiracy alert! Valley Fever was created in a lab at Fort Detrick Maryland for the sole purpose of executing Knee-grow prisoners. It’s cheaper than a plane flight back to A-freaka.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    The federal official in charge of healthcare in California prisons has directed that more than 3,000 inmates be moved out of state lockups

    Well, isn’t that convenient!

    A U.S. Supreme Court decision ordered California to reduce its prison population from 143,000 to 110,000 inmates by June 2013.The U.S. Supreme Court ordered California prisons to present a plan by Thursday to get rid of 9,000 prisoners to aid in the overcrowding problem, officials said Monday.

    We Californians were assured that only “low-level,” non-violent inmates would be released, but…

    An Associated Press review of inmate data shows that some of the freed criminals were convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, battery, corporal injury to a spouse, inflicting injury on a child, domestic violence, attempting to take a gun from a police officer, displaying a gun in a threatening manner, and many other serious crimes.

    One of those “low level” offenders on early release shot and killed four people in Northridge in December, another was arrested for attempted rape less than 24-hours after his early release,

    The idiots who push for early prisoner release into California communities are protected by armed guards sanctioned to use deadly force — but make SURE that we Californians cannot carry a concealed weapon to protect ourselves against the violent criminals they foist on us.

    Bon

  • Flaxen-headed Strumpet

    Won’t this go contrary to the SCOTUS mandate that prison populations be racially integrated?

  • Funruffian

    We Californians must pretotect our prisoners for they are such valued members of society.

  • Dagless

    I cannot think of any greater heal, within the U.S., than to be in an overcrowded California state prison serving out a trumped up Three Strikes sentence.