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Can I make a health observation that is not often, if ever, mentioned - especially by tourist offices looking to drag people and their money into the Southwest desert States.

There is an illness called VALLEY FEVER, that occurs in the the SW desert States of the USA. It is a fungal thing, I suppose you could call it an infection, but, in my opinion, it goes beyond that. Many people don't even know that they have had VALLEY FEVER, they just feel crap for several months and don't really know why. Some people it makes seriously ill, and others, it kills.

Valley fever is caused by fungus spores which are breathed in, actually one single, invisible to the human eye, spore can cause the infection. The spores they reckon are kicked up by building work and a mixture of wind and rain, then they travel on the wind to wherever.

If you breath a spore in and you are unfortunate it may grow in your lung, having found a nice moist dark place. Alternatively, if you are really, really, unlucky the spore may cross into the bloodstream, travel around the body and find somewhere else to grow. It is not unheard of for people to die from having a fungus grow in their brain - a mushroom growing in your thinking box. When I say fungus, I don't mean a thrush like fungal infection, I do actually mean a large truffle or mushroom like growth.

It is estimated that 1/3 of the population of Arizona have had Valley Fever in various degrees. There are kids who have neede to be put onto breathing assists because their lung has been invaded by a fungus and they can't cope on their own. As mentioned above, if you get infected and a fungus grows it can grow almost anywhere in the body - lungs and brain tend to be the favourite most dangerous places.

The BBC did a report on it recently, a local prison has had to evacuate loads of prisoners since they had a few die from the infection and many parents are finding that their kids are infected. A major centre for the "illness" is around Phoenix/Scottsdale, presumed to be because that is where the most building and soil disruption has occurred to allow the spores to spread.

Just thought I'd mention it as the Grand Canyon and Vegas fall into the possible danger area, not as bad as Phoenix though.
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