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Lecture to explore role of Stanford doctors treating Valley Fever

STANFORD -- “San Joaquin Valley Fever: The Role of Stanford Medical School in its History” is the topic of a lecture at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, in the Cypress Lounge of Tresidder Union. Sponsored by the Stanford Historical Society, the lecture is aimed at a non-medical audience.

Drs. Stanley C. Deresinski, clinical professor of medicine at Stanford, and Richard Hector, director of biological sciences at Shaman Pharmaceuticals in South San Francisco, will speak.

Valley Fever is making headlines these days because of a fresh outbreak of the disease in California after last year's Northridge earthquake.

In the early part of the 20th century, physicians were perplexed about the cause of some cases of lung infection that occurred in people living in the San Joaquin Valley. Then, in 1929, Harold Chope, a Stanford medical student working in a medical school laboratory, accidentally inhaled some fungus spores kept in the lab.

His subsequent illness - from which he recovered in a couple of weeks - enabled Stanford faculty physicians to understand that inhaling the spores could cause lung disease. Doctors also recognized the similarity of his case to those in the Valley.

In the next decade, Stanford researchers played a key role in identifying locales where the fungus is found in the soil. The geographic distribution of the disease was correlated with the geographic distribution of the fungus spores.



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