State Health Department Investigating A Mumps Outbreak In Texas
Midwestern states have experienced the highest numbers of cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Texas is now experiencing a 20-year high in mump cases, and state, regional and local health departments are investigating multiple outbreaks sites throughout the state.
The Texas Department of State Health Services warned this week of multiple ongoing mumps outbreaks. Occasionally, mumps can cause encephalitis, which in rare cases can lead to death, says the CDC. DSHS alerted other states and in turn, was notified of 13 instances of mumps in people who traveled to South Padre Island between March 8 and March 22 from six states, including two individuals from Texas.
The Brazos County Health Department announced Thursday that it has confirmed a case of mumps, with two suspected cases not yet confirmed.
Mumps is transmitted from person to person by respiratory droplets or saliva.
Mumps is highly contagious and is spread through coughing, sneezing, and sharing cups and utensils.
Because it is caused by a virus, mumps does not respond to antibiotics. Symptoms like swollen salivary glands, swollen testicles, tiredness, and muscle aches manifest after 16 days of exposure to the virus. "They get a milder infection". In 2016, 5,311 cases were reported in 46 states and the District of Columbia.
"Men that are past puberty, there's the risk of having testicular swelling and pain".
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No one knows why the mumps spiked.
"We've had quite a large one with, counting last year and this year, more than 150 cases in Johnson County, which is just south of Fort Worth", he said. While the four current cases are the first reported in 2017 for Garfield County, there have been 63 cases reported in Colorado so far this year. The vaccine was introduced in 1967, and before the vaccine, over 186,000 mumps cases were reported yearly nationwide.
In the United States, MMR-II is the only licensed mumps vaccine manufactured by Merck.
More information on mumps can be found here on the Texas Department of State Health Services website.
The Health Department says although it is unlikely, people who have had the vaccine can still catch the disease. However, teens and adults should also check if they are up to date with their MMR vaccination. "That means that if you have 100 people who are fully vaccinated, 88 of them will be fully protected", it adds.
"Because of the high numbers of mumps cases across the country, it is especially important to make sure your children are vaccinated", said Yvonne Long, Garfield County Public Health director.
"The vaccine is excellent for the short term, but after 10 to 15 years, it begins to wane in some people", said William Schaffner, M.D., and professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, according to Tech Times.
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