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Airborne Fungal Pathogens Cause California Corrections Officials to Move Inmates

LA Testing offers indoor air quality (IAQ) testing services to help identify fungal pathogens in all types of buildings and structures.


Garden Grove, CA, July 26, 2013

Earlier this month, ABC News reported that a judge has ordered the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to move thousands of inmates from two prisons in the state. A U.S. District Judge has ordered close to 2,600 inmates from the Avenal and Pleasant Valley Prisons to be relocated within 90 days.

The reason for the judge’s order is due to an exceptionally high rate of Coccidioidomycosis, more commonly known as Valley Fever, in the two prisons. According to the report, Pleasant Valley had an infection rate of 400 times higher than the county it’s located in and Avenal’s infection rate was 10 times greater than the county with the highest rates of infection in California.

Valley Fever is a fungal disease that is endemic in parts of California, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.  People become infected by breathing spores from a species of fungi known as Coccidioides. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Most people who are exposed to the fungus do not develop symptoms, or have very mild flu-like symptoms that go away on their own. Some people may develop a more severe infection, especially those who have a weakened immune system, are of African-American or Filipino descent, or are pregnant in their third trimester.”

One company that has been on the forefront of helping to test for fungal pathogens in the air is LA Testing. “There are a number of fairly common fungal pathogens that can be found in homes, schools, businesses and institutions across California,” reported Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager of LA Testing’s Garden Grove facility. “Although Coccidioides grows in soils, when the soil is disturbed it becomes airborne and can infiltrate most structures. There are also a number of pathogenic fungi that can be found actually growing in buildings that have suffered water damage or elevated humidity levels. LA Testing provides analytical services and testing supplies to help identify fungal pathogens to protect people’s health,” he continued.

LA Testing has sponsored a two part online video series about fungal pathogens. The first video can be seen at:

To learn more about testing for fungal pathogens or other IAQ issues, please visit, email or call (800) 755-1794. 

About LA Testing and EMSL Analytical, Inc.
LA Testing and EMSL Analytical are providers of environmental testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The companies have an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies. LA Testing has laboratories throughout California to service commercial clients and government agencies as well as the general public.


 valley fever
 indoor air quality

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