HOUSTON — Houston health officials will be visiting the ICE detention facility in North Houston in the coming days to check on patients infected with mumps.
They said the illness first became apparent back in the beginning of January, and now, a total of seven cases have been found.
The good news is that of those seven cases, only one person is currently sick. That person began showing symptoms Feb. 3. The rest of those infected have been cured.
“Chances are that some of the folks did become infected while they were there because it’s like any other detention facility, you have a large number of people in a small area," Houston Public Health Authority Dr. David Persse said.
It's those conditions that Dr. Persse said became a breeding ground for an illness that’s been nearly eradicated in America.
“We have very, very low levels, very low levels of mumps in the United States, so while this number of seven is small, for this community, that’s an uptick so that’s one reason why it has our attention," Dr. Persse said.
Dr. Persse said it’s impossible to tell where the mumps originated, but they’re taking all precautions to prevent more.
“The numbers don’t seem to be taking off. Now, this has only been going on for a few weeks, it’s a little early to say for sure, but it’s going to take time to find out if these procedures are working. If they are, the numbers will start to drop off, it not, the numbers will take off," Dr. Persse said.
While they don’t anticipate more cases, he says mumps is a highly treatable illness with a recovery period of about 10 days.
They have no evidence the disease traveled outside the facility, but if you’re not vaccinated, it’s never too late to do so.
“You can either get the two vaccinations now as an adult or if you think you had one maybe, and you want to get another one, you can do that. The vaccine is not expensive, and if you got vaccinated as a child and you got one again as an adult, it’s not going to hurt you," Dr. Persse said.
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