Mumps outbreak at ICE detention facility in Houston

by NCN Health And Science Team Last updated on March 29th, 2019,

Houston, Texas: Seven adult mumps cases have been confirmed at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in northeast Houston, the city’s Health Department said.

The adults were all detained during their infectious period and there is no evidence the disease was transmitted to anyone outside ICE’s medium-security facility, called CoreCivic, the agency said in a news release Saturday.

“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, said in the release.

One person went to the hospital for treatment and the others received treatment at the facility, KPRC-TV reported.

Those with symptoms were placed in isolation at the facility. Also, anyone who was around a person showing symptoms went to quarantine.

“We have every reason to believe that the individuals who are sick are still at the facility,” Persse said at a news conference.

Two cases of mumps at the facility were last reported in 2017, according to Persse.

The department said it will conduct an on-site visit in a few days and is working with the facility on infection control methods.

Mumps is a highly contagious disease. It typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite and then swollen salivary glands. Most recover from mumps without serious complications.

Two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine are 97 percent effective for life and one dose is 93 percent effective, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And additional vaccines aren’t needed over the years.

“We’ve been dealing with mumps for hundreds of years. It’s a common viral illness,” Persse said. “The number of seven is small, but for this community, that’s an uptick and that’s one of the reasons it has our attention.”

The measles vaccination program started in 1963. Before then, estimated 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States, according to the CDC. Last year there were around 2,300 mumps cases.

Mumps cases are usually prevalent in crowded environment, including living in a dormitory with a person who has mumps or playing on the same sports team.

In 2016-17, a large outbreak in a close-knit community in northwest Arkansas, resulted in nearly 3,000 cases.

Houston Health Department confirms mumps at Houston ICE facility

The Houston Health Department (HHD) 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.

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