Physicians, Public Put on Alert as Texas Mumps Cases Reach 20-Year High

State health officials are advising physicians and providers to stay on alert for mumps as statewide cases of the highly contagious disease reach a 20-year high.

Officials are investigating multiple cases throughout Texas, including one involving possible exposures on South Padre Island, a popular spring break destination, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) said in an alert.

Texas has had 221 cases of the disease already this year, compared with a record high of 234 for all of 1994, according the DSHS.

Texas officials were alerted to the possible exposures on South Padre Island when another state health department reported a patient with mumps who had traveled to the Gulf Coast barrier island during spring break.

"DSHS 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," DSHS said in a news release announcing the alert. "Health care providers should consider mumps in patients with compatible symptoms and ask them about travel out of state, to South Padre Island from March 8 to 22, or about any possible exposure to someone with mumps."

Mumps is spread through coughing, sneezing, and sharing cups and utensils. The mumps vaccine is the most effective way of avoiding the disease, but it is also important that people cover their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, wash their hands with soap and water frequently, and not share food and drinks.

Symptoms usually develop 16 to 18 days after exposure and include swollen or tender salivary glands, swollen or tender testicles, low-grade fever, tiredness, and muscle aches. People who think they have the disease should contact their physician and stay home while they are contagious ― five days after swollen glands occur.

Physicians and providers are required to report suspected cases to their local health department or by calling (800) 705-8868 within one business day. 

Action, April 17, 2017

Last Updated On

April 17, 2017

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