Mumps cases reach 20-year high in Texas

TEXAS - So far this year, there have been 221 mumps cases, the largest total since there were 234 cases in 1994, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

According to the press release sent out Wednesday, the department is currently investigating multiple outbreaks of mumps throughout the state, including one involving possible exposures on South Padre Island.

DSHS alerted "other states" after another state health department contacted DSHS about a patient with mumps who traveled to the area for spring break. DSHS has now been notified of 13 mumps cases in people who traveled to South Padre between March 8 and March 22 from six states, including two cases from Texas.

Mumps is highly contagious and is spread through coughing and sneezing and sharing cups an utensils. Mumps symptoms include swollen or tender salivary glands, swollen or tender testicles, low fever, tiredness and muscle aches. People usually develop symptoms 16 to 18 days after being exposed to the virus. People who think they have mumps should contact their health care provider, and anyone suspected of having mumps should stay home while they're contagious.

The mumps vaccine is the best way to keep from getting mumps, however some vaccinated people still get sick if they're exposed to the virus.

Ways to stop the spread of mumps:

  • Covering coughs and sneezes
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water
  • Don't share food and drinks

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