Diseases not seen in years reemerging


Measles and mumps had basically been eliminated from the United States.

The Houston Health Department confirms seven mumps cases at an U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Houston. All seven individuals are adult detainees who were detained during their infectious period. There is no evidence the disease was transmitted to anyone outside of the facility.

“Since these individuals were isolated inside the facility during the period they were infectious, we do not anticipate these cases posing a threat to the community,” said Dr. David Persse, Houston’s local health authority and EMS medical director.

HHD is working with the facility on infection control methods and will conduct an on-site visit in the coming days.

Mumps is a vaccine-preventable contagious disease caused by a virus. It typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, followed by swollen salivary glands.

Those experiencing symptoms of mumps or any highly contagious disease should immediately contact their doctor. Most people recover from mumps without serious complications.

Mumps can be prevented with two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Children should receive the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Two doses of the vaccine are 97 percent effective.

CDC considers people who received two doses of MMR vaccine as children according to the U.S. vaccination schedule protected for life.

“Properly vaccinating your children isn’t just about protecting your child, it’s about protecting your entire family and your community,” Dr. Persse continued.

While rare, mumps outbreaks have previously occurred in the state and Houston region.

Houston Health Department's Porfirio Villarreal said however, we're at risk if people from other countries aren't immunized.

"Anybody who travels to the United States, and Houston is a big travel city, or a big port, so you have a lot of influx of people, those people may bring it," said Villarreal. "If somebody goes abroad and they're not vaccinated, they could bring it back to the United States."

He said mumps outbreaks tends to happen on college campuses and places where people live in close proximity.

Villarreal said if you're an adult without documentation that you received the vaccines as a child, it's wise to get immunized now.

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