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Unusual disease sidelines radio talk-show host 

Dave Congalton, well-known talk show host on KVEC-AM in San Luis Obispo, was diagnosed with Valley Fever, or San Joaquin Fever, almost a month ago, which has kept him off the airwaves for the last three weeks.

Valley Fever, according to the SLO County Public Health Department, is an infection in the lungs caused by a fungus that grows in the soil. It is prevalent in Central California, Arizona, New Mexico, and other areas of the Southwest.

Charlotte Alexander, Congalton’s wife, believes her husband may have been exposed to the spores while working outdoors at their home. While Valley Fever is not contagious, it can be extremely painful and tenacious. The infection can spread to other parts of the body and in some cases can be fatal.

Since Valley Fever is not a virus, antibiotics won’t work in fighting the disease. Congalton has been taking a variety of antifungal medications, but health officials say that many of these only control rather than kill the fungus.

The disease’s duration can be months to sometimes years.

Congalton’s sidekick Tom Madsen has been more than nursing along the popular and often controversial 3-7 p.m. weekday program.

Congalton himself called in this week to let his listeners know how he is.

He expects to return to work on Nov. 15. ³

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