Mumps cases in Texas reach 20-year high

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – Since the beginning of this year, Texas has seen 221 mumps cases, the most the state has recorded since 1994 when there were 234 cases. The Texas Department of State Health Services says the number of mumps cases has reached a 20-year high, which has health officials worried.

There have been multiple outbreaks across the state, but health departments are centering in on South Padre Island. Currently, the state says there have been 13 mumps cases in people who traveled to the spring break destination from March 8-22. The cases involve patients from six states, including two cases from Texas.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects the spike in mumps cases to continue. 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. The health organization said two of the largest outbreaks happened on university campuses in Iowa and Illinois; 220 cases were also reported at the University of Missouri by mid-December.

The DSHS said mumps symptoms include swollen or tender salivary glands, swollen or tender testicles, low fever, tiredness and muscle aches. Symptoms become present 16-18 days after being exposed to the virus, but can appear as late as 25 days.

Mumps is highly contagious and can be transmitted through coughing, sneezing and sharing cups or utensils. If you think you might have mumps, contact your health care provider.

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. The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine prevents most, but not all cases of mumps, health officials say. Two doses of the vaccine are 88 percent effective at protecting against mumps; one dose is 78 percent effect, according to the CDC.

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