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    Valley fever hospitalizations increase in Calif.

    FRESNO, Calif. — The annual rate of hospitalizations for valley fever, a potentially lethal but often misdiagnosed disease, has doubled over the past 12 years in California, according to a study published on Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    The fever — which is caused by a fungus found in soil and can be contracted by simply breathing in the spores from dust disturbed by wind or other activity — has cost more than $2 billion in hospital charges over about a decade, the study found. The government covered more than 60 percent of those charges.

    The study, conducted by researchers at the California Department of Public Health, was published in the October 2013 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, CDC’s monthly peer-reviewed journal.

    Associated Press