Mumps cases reach 20-year high in Texas

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Mumps cases have hit a 20-year high in Texas and the highly contagious virus is infecting spring break travelers to popular beaches, state health officials said Wednesday.

Mumps is rarely a deadly disease, but if not treated immediately it can lead to encephalitis, deafness or swelling of the brain. 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.

NET Health CEO George Roberts said there are several suspected cases in East Texas, but none confirmed. Mumps is spread through saliva or mucus from the nose, mouth or throat.

Mumps is highly contagious and can be transmitted through coughing, sneezing and sharing cups or utensils.

Mumps is a viral infection that causes painful swelling in the glands of the cheek and jaw. Symptoms like swollen salivary glands, swollen testicles, tiredness, and muscle aches manifest after 16 days of exposure to the virus.

Multiple outbreaks are being investigated including one involving spring break travelers to South Padre Island.

"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.

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Missouri now has one of the highest rates for mumps in the United States. Before the vaccine arrived, approximately 186,000 cases used to be reported a year.

The mumps virus is spreading through Texas as a growing number of people are coming down with it.

State, regional, and local health departments are investigating the outbreaks throughout the state.

The Health Department says although it is unlikely, people who have had the vaccine can still catch the disease. And their recommendations include receiving at least two doses of the MMR vaccine.

According to the CDC, MMR-II in two doses is 88 percent effective at protection against mumps. "Both adults and children should make sure they are up to date on their mumps vaccinations".

"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. And if in an exposed population, the application of a third booster shot just as Cedar Hill has offered his - a third booster shot - just as they've offered at Cedar Hill.

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