Texas mumps cases hit 20-year high

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District said that there are nine cases of mumps in Bexar County, up by eight from past year.

The Texas Department of State Health Services says the state is experiencing a 20-year-high in mumps cases.

Multiple outbreaks include possible exposures on South Padre Island.

"State, regional and local health departments are now investigating multiple outbreaks throughout the state, including one involving possible exposures on South Padre Island, a popular spring break destination", the health department said in a statement. DSHS alerted other states and received reports from 13 other mumps cases from people who moved to the area between March 8 and March 22.

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The Brazos County Health Department announced Thursday that it has confirmed a case of mumps, with two suspected cases not yet 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. The virus is spread through direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva of an infected person. In contrast, just 229 cases were reported in 2015.

"When you think about mumps, most people will do OK, but there are potentially more serious complications", noted Dr. Cynthia Brownfield, a physician with Mosaic Life Care. Hardesty said, "Take precautions, get your immunizations, and make sure they're up to date".

"In the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, mumps is by far the "weak player" in terms of giving protection". Symptoms include swollen or tender salivary glands, low fever, tiredness and muscle aches.

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

Mumps is highly contagious. Meaning, to cover mouth when coughing or sneezing, to avoid sharing foods and drinks and to wash hands frequently with water and soap. A spokesman for the CDC said that they were investigating the possibility that the protective effect of the MMR vaccine decreases over time.

"What's concerning about it is, if they were vaccinated, what is causing this to occur and it's our job to help us answer that question", Family Nurse Practitioner for Brazos County Health Department Julie Anderson said.

Schaffner said college students are at particularly at risk since they live and go to school in close proximity to others.

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