Harris County Jail Under Quarantine For Mumps Outbreak

Mumps Outbreak in Harris County Jail
Mumps Outbreak in Harris County Jail

Seven people tested positive for the mumps virus at the Harris County Jail in Houston prompting some blocks of the facility to be quarantined. 

Medical staff at the jail noticed a few inmates started to display symptoms in mid-May. Soon after, several more inmates and two jail staffers began displaying the same symptoms.

Jail officials released news of the outbreak this morning confirming seven people tested positive for the mumps virus.

The public health authority for Houston’s Department of Health and Human Services state there could be as many as 14 potential cases which popped up earlier this week. Only the blood test of seven of the 14 tested inmates have been returned from the lab.

The Houston Health Department has coordinated a response effort to vaccinate inmates and jail staff and isolate the infected.

The CDC states that mumps is caused by a virus that usually happens during childhood. The virus is easily spread by airborne droplets from coughs and sneezes and usually takes two to three weeks for symptoms to appear.

The most common symptoms of mumps in adults include:

  • Swollen and tender salivary glands
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Pain and tenderness in the testicles
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle Aches
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of Appetite

Complications with mumps happen more often with adults and may include:

  • Meningitis or encephalitis
  • Inflammation of one or both testicles
  • Inflammation of the breast tissue
  • Inflammation of the parotid glands
  • Inflammation of the ovaries
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Deafness

The mumps virus is treated with medication for pain, lots of fluids, and bed rest.

Mumps is one of three diseases which is preventable with an MMR immunization (measles, mumps, and rubella) which is typically administered at 12 and 15 months of age with the second dose at ages 4 or 6 years. However, people who get mumps are immune for life.

Some people can carry the mumps virus without exhibiting symptoms and be contagious.

For some people with a compromised immune system, mumps can have a more serious effect on the body.

The Center for Disease Control states that mumps outbreaks can occur with groups who have prolonged, close contact.


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