Bakersfield Teen Loses Battle With Valley Fever

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) - A 17-year-old Bakersfield girl has lost a two-year battle with valley fever, a usually non-fatal illness caused by fungus spores in the soil.

Jacalynn Hernandez died Friday at UCLA's Mattel Children's Hospital.

The former track runner began suffering headaches and vomiting at the end of her freshman year. She was hospitalized after a lesion developed on her nose and her weight dropped from 180 to 96 pounds.

The fungus attacked her internal organs, skin, bones, brain and blood. She also contracted pancreatitis and meningitis.

Valley fever is found in the San Joaquin Valley and other Western states. Only 1 percent of people who contract it suffer serious illness.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-08-02-08 1235EDT

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