The Texas Department of State Health Services is investigating two outbreaks of mumps in North Texas.
The first involves four adult cases in Dallas County, while the other involves 10 confirmed cases in Johnson County, most of them children in the Keene Independent School District and Cleburne Independent School District.[[403861156,R]]
Six students at Keene Elementary School have tested positive for mumps, along with one student at Keene High School, officials say.
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In the Cleburne ISD, there is one case at the high school, and another at the middle school.
"Some of these students have traveled to Arkansas, and so there may be an Arkansas connection as well," said Dr. Elvin Adams, with the Johnson County Health Authority.
Currently, there is a large outbreak of mumps in Arkansas.
"Some of them are relatives, but the most common thing is that they are students in the same school. This is what is a concern to us," Adams said.
The Keene ISD has 1,100 students, and right now, 34 may be at risk because they are not immunized against the virus that causes mumps.
"Starting tomorrow (Thursday) they won't be allowed back in school for 26 days, long incubation period for mumps," said Keene ISD Superintendent Ricky Stephens. "We're fortunate the Christmas break is here, which is only going to make them miss 12 days of school."
Students say their parents are concerned.
“She’s just really worried because even in the past, when my sister came to this high school and I was in elementary, people got the flu and there was a really bad case, she didn’t want to take me and my sister to school,” said Miguel Cruz, a student at Keene High School.
Mumps can be spread through the air from coughs and sneezes, and it is highly contagious. Symptoms include swollen salivary glands below the ears, fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite, DSHS said.
There is no treatment for mumps, and the illness can take up to 25 days for symptoms to appear.
The MMR vaccine, which also protects against measles and rubella, is the best way to protect yourself from mumps, officials said.
Thursday morning, the district's three schools will offer vaccines for those who want one, allowing them to return to class.
Officials are working to find anyone who came into contact with the people exhibiting symptoms of mumps.