CEDAR HILL (CBSDFW.COM) – A mumps outbreak at one North Texas school is a wake up call for local health officials and parents.
So far, there have been 23 confirmed cases and nine suspected cases of the mumps at Cedar Hill High School. And all of the nearly two-dozen students and staff members have come down with the disease since February 9th.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the mumps vaccine is nearly 90-percent effective when patients receive two doses and that’s exactly what the students and staff at Cedar Hill High did — but it wasn’t enough.
Parents are told children should get the MMR vaccine first at 13 months old and then again when they are between three and five. Now Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zach Thompson says additional steps will have to be taken. “We may be dealing with the fact that the vaccine basically has waned and so there may a possibility of a third dose recommendation in the future.”
Thompson said the 23 cases at the school are more than the total number of cases in all of Dallas County last year.
Administrators with the Cedar Hill Independent School District are urging any student with cold or flu like symptoms to stay home.
There has been an increase in the number of mumps cases. In just the past few months there have been more than 70 confirmed cases.
Thompson said in some instances, but not at Cedar Hill High, the infections are a direct result of inaction by parents. “We’re also seeing a number of kids who are unvaccinated, so this may be contributing to the mumps outbreak that we are seeing throughout North Texas as well as throughout the United States.”
Mumps is spread through mucus or saliva, and can be spread anywhere from 3 to 6 feet when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Some of the symptoms of the mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches and loss of appetite. But there are those who get the mumps who have very mild or no symptoms at all.
While mumps is a serious disease, most people recover completely in a few weeks.