UA, Banner look to improve Valley fever diagnosis

Valley Fever

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - There is a new push to train doctors on how to diagnose Valley fever, a prominent disease in the southwestern United States.

The University of Arizona teamed up with Banner Health to create a set of guidelines to help doctors when it comes to looking for the symptoms, which are very similar to the flu.

Dr. John Galgiani with the Valley Fever Center of Excellence said the goal is to get all Banner doctors on the same page to avoid delays and misdiagnosis.

He and his team looked over data and learned many doctors are testing for Valley fever in low numbers or not at all.

On the contrast, he said the data also shows some doctors are testing – and in high numbers – but their actual diagnosis numbers are low.

Galgiani said the range in doctor training could be a big factor.

He said many doctors studied out of state and may not have been properly trained on Valley fever, most common in states like Arizona and California.

He also believes doctors who did study in-state may not have fully understood the training.

He hopes the new guidelines help get doctors on the same page when it comes to spotting the symptoms.

The Valley Fever Center of Excellence will spend the next year training doctors one-on-one at Banner clinics across Arizona. The next step will next be to see if the new guidelines are working.

“We’ll be then looking at the effect of that training. We’ll see if the numbers change from what we’re seeing now after their training to see if those numbers improve, whether the percent positive go up and whether the tests for those not testing go up as well. And it’ll be very exciting to see those kinds of changes,” Galgiani said.

Experts hope to see the full benefits of the training in the next two to three years.

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