(NBC NEWS) A nasty fungal infection that can spread to the lungs or brain and cause lifetime symptoms is on the rise in the Southwestern U.S., federal health officials reported on Thursday.

Cases of Valley Fever, known medically as coccidioidomycosis, have increased nearly 10-fold between 1998 and 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

“Cases in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah rose from 2,265 in 1998 to more than 22,000 in 2011,” CDC said in a statement.

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