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Several Diagnosed Mumps Patients Reportedly Visited SPI

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SOUTH PADRE ISLAND – Health officials nationwide are on alert for cases of the mumps. Six states, including Texas, are reporting cases.

Some of the patients visited South Padre Island during spring break.

Out of more than 200 mumps cases in Texas, two people reported visiting SPI. State health officials said there are 11 others outside of Texas who did too.

“There’s reports from multiple states about people who visited South Padre Island middle towards the end of March during spring break,” Dr. James Castillo with the Cameron County Health Authority said. “Right now, it’s really about surveilling for other cases.”

Dr. Castillo said the mumps patients who visited the island were there between March 8 and March 22.

“Right now, we’re really asking health providers to be on the lookout there might be a mumps outbreak,” he said.

Spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services, Chris Van Deusen, said it will be difficult to track down the source. But he added it is not believed the virus originated at the Island.

“It is almost assuredly someone who traveled there who was already infected with mumps,” he said.

The outbreak comes as Texas is grappling with the highest number of mumps cases since the early 90s. Across the state, 221 people are infected. So far none of the cases are in the Rio Grande Valley.

Dr. Castillo said the biggest prevention is vaccination.

He said mumps is spread through close contact, respiratory secretions, sneezing or saliva.

Symptoms of mumps include fever, muscle aches, fatigue and tenderness. But one of the virus’ main symptoms is swelling or tenderness of the salivary glands.

There is no treatment for the virus. It must run its course. Health officials urge people to wash their hands before eating or touching their face.

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