UA Valley Fever Center for Excellence Produces Booklet to Improve Diagnosis and Treatment of Valley Fever
New pocket reference booklet for physicians and other health-care professionals available through several organizations including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
The Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona has developed a reference booklet that includes all of the facts that physicians and other health-care professionals need about Valley Fever, including how to diagnose it and what to do when a new infection is discovered. While this information has existed for many years, it now is readily available so that busy clinicians can include it in their routine practice.
The booklet was made possible by an unrestricted educational grant from Nielsen Biosciences Inc.
“This grant has enabled the Center to do something it long has hoped for,” said John Galgiani, MD, director of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence. “We have had this information available on our website but now we can distribute the information in a form that makes it readily available to busy clinicians. The booklet is small enough to fit in their lab coat.”
Published research has shown that many physicians do not know when to test for Valley Fever or what to do if a new infection is diagnosed. This is a special problem in Arizona where one out of three patients who are told they have “pneumonia” actually have Valley Fever and as a result receive medical care they may not need or have delays in appropriate care. An estimated 50,000 people a year seek medical care for their Valley Fever but fewer than 20,000 are accurately diagnosed.
“If doctors were more attuned to how common Valley Fever is, they would look for it more frequently,” Dr. Galgiani said. “Early diagnosis should reduce the use of antibiotics and lots of additional testing, none of which helps the patient and increases costs.”
The first printing of the booklet, completed in January, was 5,000 copies, enough for the Valley Fever Center to give a free copy to every medical student and medical resident (physician-in-training) in Arizona. Copies also are available through the Arizona Medical Association, the medical societies of Pima and Maricopa Counties, the Arizona Department of Health Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the future, the Valley Fever Center hopes to work with the CDC to revise the booklet so that it would be useful to physicians throughout the nation.
An electronic copy of the booklet also is posted on the Valley Fever Center for Excellence website at www.vfce.arizona.edu