Dallas County Mumps Uptick Continues With Third Case in 2017

The mumps virus.
The mumps virus. Wiki Commons
Continuing a trend that began with 10 local cases last year, Dallas County Health and Human Services announced Thursday afternoon that Dallas County has been hit with its third case of mumps in 2017. Like each of the previous two cases this year, the mumps case announced Thursday was transmitted locally and isn’t connected to any other reported cases.

The patient lives in Dallas and is between 45 and 55 years, but DCHHS is not releasing any additional information due to medical and personal privacy concerns. The previous two 2017 cases were diagnosed in Mesquite and Cedar Hill.

DCHHS officials are using the cases to highlight the need for people to get the mumps vaccine, if they haven’t had two doses already. “The increased number of mumps cases reported in the North Texas area underscore the importance of getting vaccinated,” DCHHS director Zach Thompson said.

Christopher Perkins, the county’s medical director, said in a county press release that the vaccine is highly effective.

“At two doses, the MMR vaccine has 88 percent effectiveness,” Perkins said. “Getting vaccinated is the best option for protection in addition to washing hands frequently and cleaning/disinfecting objects or surfaces that may be contaminated with germs.”

In the five years prior to 2016, the highest number of mumps diagnoses reported by the state of Texas was 20. Last year, in North Texas alone, there were more than 50, thanks in large part to an outbreak in Johnson County that infected 48 residents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mumps is “no longer very common in the United States. From year to year, mumps cases can range from roughly a couple hundred to a couple thousand. ... Before the U.S. mumps vaccination program started in 1967, about 186,000 cases were reported each year.”

According to DCHHS, symptoms of mumps include fever, headache and swelling of the salivary glands, fatigue, muscle aches and loss of appetite and usually show up 16 to 18 days after exposure.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
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