HOUSTON — Health officials are investigating a possible mumps outbreak at the Harris County Jail after several inmates are showing symptoms of the virus. Test results are expected Wednesday.

According to Jason Spencer, spokesperson for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the 10 inmates showing symptoms are currently in quarantine. 

Inmate visitation hours haven’t been affected.

Mumps is a contagious viral disease that could have lasting health effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mumps is rarely deadly, but it can lead to meningitis, deafness and infertility.

It's a disease the CDC says was decreased by more than 99% in the United States after the two dose MMR vaccine was introduced in 1989, with only a few hundred cases reported most years. However, in recent years mumps cases have come roaring back. Since 2006 there has been a sizable uptick in mumps cases most years, often reaching in the thousands.

Mumps is prevented by the MMR vaccine, the same vaccine used to prevent measles.

Mumps is passed from person to person through saliva droplets and can be airborne. A person is the most contagions the first 5 days after symptoms develop.

Symptoms include swollen glands, fever, headache and muscle aches.

In 2019, Texas has had more than 300 mumps cases, including from an outbreak at a Harris County ICE detention facility earlier this year.

Along with Pennsylvania, Texas has the highest mumps rate in the country for 2019.

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