MCALLEN, Texas – 20 mumps cases in Hidalgo County have now been reported in less than a month. Health officials say this infection can affect the brain and make someone deaf.
The Hidalgo County Health Department provided nearly 200 free vaccines to students this morning. After 18 mumps cases were reported in the county and two at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in just three weeks. Doctors say the infection is highly contagious and takes nearly a month for a sick person to recover.
Cristel Escalona, UTRGV Medical Director, “You kind of get like a flu like illness, you’ll have body aches, you’ll have a fever, and then ultimately after feeling fatigue you start having swelling of your salivary glands.”
Mumps is a viral infection that affects the salivary glands. Doctors say it can cause brain infection and can even make someone deaf.
“Mumps is always famous for causing sterilization later. If you actually get the mumps and get testicular swelling you can actually become sterile and not be able to have children and the same goes for women.” says Escalona.
According to Escalona, more than 50 percent of UTRGV students don’t have medical insurance. The cost for the mumps shot is $80 at the school which Escalona says may be the reason nobody gets the shot.
“You get your first shot when you’re one-year-old then your second shot when you’re four. This protects you about 90 percent of the time but still 10 percent your immunity will lower.”
Escalona advises anyone traveling to Houston to get vaccinated. Due to a measles outbreak in the city. Health officials say the MMR shot is covered by all health insurances.