Mumps May Have Migrated to Texas

Mission City Texas mumps cases related to a UT student and Athletic Club
weights in a gym

The Hidalgo County Texas Health and Human Services Department confirmed 1 case of the mumps and 9 possible mumps cases. 

The mumps case was discovered by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on April 3, 2019. 

Health officials said in a website statement that they ‘have determined the mumps case may have originated in a Mission, Texas, athletic facility.’ 

Local reporting indicates that the facility is a Tru-Fit Athletic Club, located at 1718 E Griffin Ave Mission, TX 78572.

CBS 4 News obtained a photo of the email sent out to Tru-Fit members stating, “We at Tru Fit Athletic clubs will be working closely with the County and City of Mission to best prevent and protect you and your communities against anything disease related.” 

Mission City‘s EMC James Cardoza said, “The City of Mission is being pro-active and we have launched an awareness campaign not only to the affected facility but to all health facilities located in Mission.” 

This mumps outbreak may be unusual for the state of Texas since vaccination rates are traditionally very high. As of March 2, 2019, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) had not reported a mumps case in the civilian population during 2019. 

But, on February 14, 2019, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency said there are 27 cases of mumps in its facilities across Texas.   

Later, on March 7th, 193 mumps cases were disclosed. 

The largest cluster of mumps cases is located at the South Texas ICE Processing Center, where 10 people are infected. 

The Laredo ICE facility is located approximately 150 miles from the Tru-Fit club indicated as the source of the mumps case(s) reported in Mission on April 4, 2019.

Lara Anton, a spokeswoman for the Texas DSHS, said in an email “there has been no reported transmission to the community.” 

However, there has been a recent surge in mumps cases in Texas. In 2017, 470 cases of mumps were reported by DSHS, the most number of mumps cases since 1990. 

Anton added that the Texas DSHS doesn’t know the vaccination status of detained migrant adults or the children who entered the USA with them, but that “all unaccompanied minors are vaccinated when they are detained.”   

“There is also no indication that (this mumps case) originated within the immigrant community,” said Eddie Olivarez, with Hidalgo County Health Department, during a news conference at Mission city hall on April 5, 2019, reported The Monitor. 

“I’m looking at it at a much broader level and that is what we are investigating,” responded Olivarez. 

“We go in and take the measures that we need to protect against further spread,” said Dr. Hector Gonzalez, director of health at the City of Laredo Health Department. “We all need to do our part to protect ourselves and help limit the spread of this disease.” 

Mumps is a vaccine-preventable disease caused by a virus. Mumps can be prevented with 2 doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

However, waning of vaccine-induced immunity over time after receipt of the second vaccine dose in high-intensity exposure settings, such as college campuses, contributes to this higher risk for mumps disease, says the CDC. 

Considering the evidence regarding the public health burden of disease and the known risk factors, persons who are at increased risk for acquiring mumps because of an outbreak were identified as a public health priority for receiving a third dose of mumps virus–containing vaccine. 

The CDC released new guidance during November 2018, suggesting when the 3rd dose of mumps vaccine is appropriate. 

The CDC has reported 151 mumps cases in 30 states and the District of Columbia from January 1 to February 28, 2019.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told reporters on March 11, 2019, that changing demographics on the southwest border has raised health concerns. 

“We are seeing migrants arrive with illnesses and medical conditions in unprecedented numbers,” McAleenan said at the press conference. 

On March 5, 2019, a new policy was announced that all current and future detainees at the immigration detention facility in Colorado will now receive at least 1 dose of the MMR vaccine, according to reporting by the Westword. 

In the USA, most pharmacies offer mumps vaccination services. And, mumps vaccine discounts can be found at GoodRx.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.