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Drone Scans For Dangerous Valley Fever In California

Update Date: Dec 21, 2015 09:55 AM EST

One dangerous fungus, the Coccidioides fungus in California, can be sniffed out by a drone that has been developed by researchers at the University of California-Merced, says New Scientist.

The fungus is said to affect 150,000 people every year and starts in the desert soil in Mexico as well as the Southwest U.S. It is spread mostly by the breezes.

Breathing in a spore of the fever leads to pneumonia or valley fever, which is a respiratory infection that might cause chest pains, coughing and fever.

The drone of the researchers can sail through the air and give some warning signals to controllers regarding the fungal levels. It goes up to peak heights of about 80 meters and then suddenly drops a pump, which breathes in 20 liters of air.

"We want to be able to answer the question of when it is uplifted into the atmosphere, by what means the fungal spores travel, and at what point they may interact with humans," said team member Brendan Smith.

The advice is priceless---stop breathing!

The California Department of Public Health says that people in danger areas should "avoid inhaling the clouds of dirt and dust".

While the fungal infection is cured by itself, medical help should be sought out immediately if the symptoms recur.

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