MISSION – Hidalgo county health professionals and Mission school district officials confirmed a mumps case at Bryan Elementary School, contributing to an ongoing outbreak increasing up to 46 cases in Hidalgo County.
This is a part of the “second wave” of cases and he anticipates another influx or a “third wave,” Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Director Eduardo “Eddie” Olivarez said. Mission school district released a letter to parents of the school to take caution and be aware of the virus on Wednesday. The district also took measures to call parents and stakeholders on Tuesday evening to warn and them about mumps.
“ The campus has been thoroughly disinfected in addition to the regular scheduled cleaning. We will continue to work closely with Hidalgo County health officials on any other precautionary steps that may be necessary,” the letter stated.
Sick students should not attend school and infected persons should limit contact with others, according to the letter.
Mission school district spokesperson Craig Verley said the individual could not be named or identified as a faculty, student or staff at this time. He said the school is undergoing normal operations.
The original mumps outbreak occurred at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, with reports confirming a student testing positive early last month or late March. This outbreak is believed to be connected with two Mission gyms and parts of McAllen, Edinburg and Pharr, according to a previous Monitor article. A mumps case also occurred at Weslaco school district in late April.
“ School-type” and “team” settings are often where diseases like mumps spread. The high contact in these areas lends itself to the spread of the virus, Olivarez said.
Easter Holiday may also have contributed to this, with large family gatherings and people traveling in and out of the Valley, Olivarez said. There are also mumps cases throughout Texas and other states.
The college semester recently ended for many institutions leading to many students moving either back to the Valley or away, he said, which may lead to a “third wave.”
However predicting the amount of cases for the “third wave” is too difficult due to the factors surrounding the outbreak, he said.
The “incubation” period lasts about 14-24 days or when a person displays symptoms after being exposed to the virus.
Mumps is highly contagious and causes the salivary glands to swell up or also known as parotitis along with symptoms of a fever and headache, according to the district letter on the symptoms. It is spread through contact with saliva and respiratory drops from the mouth and throat.
Measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR vaccine is recommended or if a booster is needed as prevention measures. It is a vaccine preventable illness, Olivarez said. Anyone who suspects having the virus should visit a physician and limit contact with other individuals.
Children typically receive the MMR vaccine at about a year old and a second shot administered at 4 to 6 years old. Hidalgo County has a high rate of MMR vaccination.
Adult cases are rare, and there are typically one to three cases a year in infants, Olivarez said in a previous article.
Basic hygiene such as covering mouth when coughing, washing hands thoroughly are all ways to prevent the spread, Olivarez said.