Published: Sat, April 15, 2017
Medical | By Sammy Miller

Texas hasn't seen this many mumps cases in 20 years

Texas hasn't seen this many mumps cases in 20 years

Texas authorities learned about the connection to South Padre Island mumps cases when a health department in another state contacted them about a mumps patient who traveled to the region, a popular Texas coastal student spring break hotspot for locals and young people from many other states.

The Texas Department of State Health Services says the number of mumps cases has reached a 20-year high, which has health officials anxious. There have been multiple outbreaks involving vacation break travelers at South Padre Island.

This prompted the department to alert other states and as of Tuesday, they have been notified of 13 mumps cases in people who traveled to the island between March 8 and March 22 from six states, including two cases from Texas.

NET Health CEO George Roberts said there are several suspected cases in East Texas, but none confirmed.

Each year, the number of mumps cases fluctuates within a range of a couple hundred to a couple thousand cases, according to the CDC.

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Mumps is transmitted from person to person by respiratory droplets or saliva. Before the vaccine arrived, approximately 186,000 cases used to be reported a year. The CDC says that although mumps is not a deadly disease, it can lead to serious complications, especially among adults. The mumps vaccine is the best way to keep from getting mumps, and research shows the mumps vaccine protects 88 percent of people who are fully vaccinated. "We want to make sure everyone is vaccinated and up to date so they're thoroughly protected and just be aware this is a possibility".

In the United States, MMR-II is the only licensed mumps vaccine manufactured by Merck.

Mumps is a viral infection that causes painful swelling in the glands of the cheek and jaw.

Mumps spreads through sneezing and sharing of cups and utensils. However, seeing as a vaccinated person can still catch the virus, it's important for everyone to help stop the spread of mumps. And their recommendations include receiving at least two doses of the MMR vaccine. Symptoms become present 16-18 days after being exposed to the virus, but can appear as late as 25 days. "Still, I'm capable of passing it on to someone else", Schaffner said.

The CHISD Health Forum, where students and parents will be able to get information from a variety of experts, will focus on a wide-range of health issues, not just the mumps.

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