Healthcare

Local High School Stricken With Mumps Outbreak

A 3D graphical representation of mumps virus particle studded with glycoprotein tubercles.
A 3D graphical representation of mumps virus particle studded with glycoprotein tubercles. WHO
Update: March 2, 2:00 p.m. — Dallas County Health and Human Services confirms that the high school hit with the outbreak is Cedar Hill High School in southwest Dallas County. So far, according to DCHHS, Dallas County residents have been infected with mumps 33 times in 2017. Twenty-seven of those cases are related to Cedar Hill High School.

Until Wednesday, Dallas County's 2016 and 2017 uptick in mumps activity was contained to cases that came in ones and twos. Despite North Texas seeing two and a half times more mumps cases in 2016 than the longstanding statewide average of about 20, Dallas County had yet to see an outbreak.

That streak appears to be over.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Dallas County Health and Human Services announced that 22 students and one staff member have been diagnosed with mumps at a North Texas high school. While it's impossible to know if any of the high school cases overlap, three high school cases announced in February — DCHHS keeps tight lips with regard to any information that could identify potential patients — Wednesday's announcement does seem to add at least 20 cases to the 10 that had already been recorded by DCHHS so far this year.


Dallas County mumps cases, 2017. - STEPHEN YOUNG
Dallas County mumps cases, 2017.
Stephen Young
According to DCHHS, each of the 23 people infected at the high school had received the recommended two doses of the mumps vaccine, but caught the virus anyway. The county health department has recommend that every teacher and student at the school receive a third course of the vaccine.

DCHHS warned local healthcare providers Wednesday that they expect additional mumps cases in the county, and that doctors should be on the lookout for patients exhibiting fever, headache and swelling of the salivary glands, fatigue, muscle aches and loss of appetite — all of which are potential symptoms of mumps.
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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.
Contact: Stephen Young