Valley fever (also called coccidioidomycosis or “cocci”) is a disease caused by a fungus that grows in the soil and dirt in some areas of California and the southwestern United States. Anyone who lives, works, or visits in areas where Valley fever has been reported can become infected. People and animals can get sick when they breathe in dust that contains the Valley fever fungus. This fungus usually infects the lungs and can cause respiratory symptoms including cough, fever, chest pain, and tiredness. In most people, the infection will go away on its own, but anyone who has these symptoms for more than a week should see a doctor or healthcare provider. Although it can be difficult to prevent Valley fever, the best way to reduce your risk is to avoid breathing in dirt or dust in areas where Valley fever is common.