Mumps cases in Texas reach 20-year high

Mumps also known as epidemic parotitis is a viral disease caused by the mumps virus

The state has seen 221 cases of mumps this year, the most since it had 234 cases in 1994, according to the release.

Right now, state, regional and local health departments are investigating multiple outbreaks in the state, including one involving possible exposures on south padre island, possibly from spring breakers visiting in march.

Texas then alerted other states and has been notified of 13 mumps cases in people who traveled to South Padre Island between March 8 and March 22 from six states, including two cases from Texas.

The Department of State Health Services issued an advisory to doctors and clinics about the outbreak.

"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. Symptoms include fever, headaches, and swollen cheeks, but there are some rare complications.

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Mumps cases wax and wane with each year.

Dallas County Health reports 81 confirmed mumps cases so far in Dallas County this year.

The virus is rarely deadly but it can cause discomfort as salivary glands swell up. At the end of 2016, the CDC reported that the number of mumps cases hit a 10-year high with 5,311 cases reported in 46 states.

More information on mumps can be found here on the Texas Department of State Health Services website.

After she heard about the mumps outbreak, she said she's fortunate her daughter Jeralee has the MMR vaccine (measles mumps rubella). In the first three months of 2017 between 100 and 299 cases have been reported in the state.

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Mumps is highly contagious and is spread through coughing, sneezing, and sharing cups and utensils. People who have been vaccinated are unlikely to get meningitis or inflammation of the ovaries or testes, or partial deafness.

The best way to prevent getting sick is by getting vaccinated, covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands frequently and not sharing food and drinks.

According to the CDC, MMR-II in two doses is 88 percent effective at protection against mumps.

"Mumps has a long incubation period, as long as 26 days between exposure and symptoms, so people could have been exposed, you know, a little over a month ago, and now you have new cases with that association", he said. "Still, I'm capable of passing it on to someone else", Schaffner said.

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