Toxic Dust Spreads Disease in the American Southwest

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A dust storm approaches Phoenix before the MLB game between the San Diego Padres and the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 26, 2013, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Every year, there are about 150,000 cases of Valley Fever, caused by the toxic soil-dwelling fungus Coccidioides immitis, which exists in the southwestern United States.  New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear talks about the fungus-caused illness and why there's been a remarkable increase in infections. Her article “Death Dust: The Valley-Fever Menace” appears in the January 20 issue of The New Yorker.