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Saturday open house to address valley fever research

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The winds that bring walls of dust in Arizona also stir up concerns about valley fever. (Source: CBS 5 News) The winds that bring walls of dust in Arizona also stir up concerns about valley fever. (Source: CBS 5 News)
'Arizona is the valley fever capital of the world,' said Dr. Janis Blair, who runs the Mayo Clinic's valley fever clinic in Scottsdale. (Source: CBS 5 News) 'Arizona is the valley fever capital of the world,' said Dr. Janis Blair, who runs the Mayo Clinic's valley fever clinic in Scottsdale. (Source: CBS 5 News)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (CBS5) -

Arizona's monsoon season is still a couple months away, but residents have already dodged a couple of dust storms.

The winds that bring the dust also stir up concerns about valley fever.

Two-thirds of valley fever cases in the U.S. occur in Arizona, according to a Mayo Clinic doctor, making Arizona the place for experts to gather and talk treatments and a possible vaccine.

The top researchers and specialists from all over Arizona will meet at Arizona Rep. David Schweikert's Scottsdale office for a valley fever open house from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

The public is invited to the open house at Schweikert's office at 10603 N. Hayden Rd. in Scottsdale, at the corner of Hayden Road and Shea Boulevard.

Many valley fever cases are overlooked, even by doctors. And while not all symptoms are serious, valley fever can be fatal.

"Arizona is the valley fever capital of the world," said Dr. Janis Blair, who runs the Mayo Clinic's valley fever clinic in north Phoenix.

"It's a big deal here. The number of cases has been rising every year, with the exception of last year," Blair said. "We've been in an epidemic state for some time."

Blair said researchers in Arizona are constantly working on treatments and a possible vaccine for valley fever, but funding is lacking.

That's where Schweikert comes in.

The Arizona Republican has been fighting for research funding when valley fever is hardly on the radar of anyone in Washington, DC.

"There are a lot of questions that still need to be answered that we simply don't have the funding to study at this point," Blair said.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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