It is being reported that New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis has likely contracted what is known as Valley or Desert Fever. Nothing is official, as the Mets are waiting for the results from blood tests taken over a week and a half ago. However, New York is already taking precautions as if Davis does have the illness, one that’s hampered seasons and ended careers.
According to the University of Arizona’s Valley Fever Center for Excellence, Valley Fever is primarily a disease of the lungs that is common in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. The disease is contracted when fungal spores enter the lungs after becoming airborne. Approximately 150,000 such infections take place in the southwestern U.S. each year.
While the disease can often clear up on its own without a person realizing its impact, in a small percentage the illness is more serious and potentially lethal. The most common results of Valley Fever are flu-like symptoms, fatigue, cough, chest pain and fever. Valley Fever is not a contagious disease and thus cannot be passed from person to person.
For this reason Davis has remained in Mets camp. Davis has said that, up until this point, he hasn’t experienced any symptoms of the disease. Still, Davis told reporters that he and the Mets believe that he does have Valley Fever.
The disease has showed up several times throughout baseball history. First baseman Conor Jackson, then with the Arizona Diamondbacks, contracted Valley Fever and it caused him to miss much of the 2009 season.
However, Valley Fever could also be more serious. Former Los Angeles Dodgers player and current Minnesota Twins hitting coach Joe Vavra contracted Valley Fever and it caused a hole to form in his lung, ending his playing career.
Hopefully Davis finds himself in the majority of those contracting Valley Fever, and this ends up being no big deal at all. However, until the Mets and Davis receive the blood test results and see if symptoms arise, New York is going to take things slow with their slugging first baseman.
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