The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new test that can detect Valley Fever in about an hour.

GeneSTAT uses a lung sample to find the fungus responsible for the disease, and Dr. David Engelthaler with Translational Genomics hopes it leads to more testing in Kern County and the Central Valley, where patients are often mistakenly treated for bacterial pneumonia.

Engelthaler says previous tests could take as long as three weeks and could be dangerous for lab technicians. GeneSTAT will be available to hospital labs first.

Kern County saw a 62% spike in Valley Fever cases last year.

Kelli Pierce