Jail mumps case prompts public warning

File photo
Dr. Jules Madrigal discusses symptoms and statistics of mumps after a case was confirmed at the Burnet County Jail late last month.



By Connie Swinney

Staff Writer

Burnet Bulletin

Test results have confirmed a positive result for mumps at the Burnet County Jail, prompting a quarantine among some inmates and a public health alert.

According to the Burnet County Health Authority, a male inmate incarcerated since at least April 23 began showing symptoms of mumps.

Mumps, an infectious viral disease, is marked by a swelling of salivary glands, fever, flu-like symptoms, pain in the face, pain during swallowing, loss of appetite and fatigue.

“Usually we don't see the mumps. We thought we had pretty much eradicated it until the last nine years,” Burnet County Health Authority Dr. Juliette Madrigal said. “The nurse practitioner at the jail did a good job recognizing this because it's so rare.”

The inmate began exhibiting symptoms on April 27, when he was tested, the Burnet County Health Authority reported. Two days later the test came back positive.

Officials quarantined jail inmates who had come into contact with the infected prisoner, Madgrigal said. Despite the precaution, such a positive result can be of public concern.

“It's transmitted through the air. Coughing and sneezing and even eating after people,” she said. “The mumps can cause encephalitis, which is swelling of the brain, cause deafness and decreases fertility especially in males or make them sterile.”

Other concerns include public exposure to babies, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems and those who do not vaccinate their children.

“We have a high rate of people who don't vaccinate,” Madrigal said.

Ways to decrease exposure include receiving the measles/mumps/rubella vaccination.

Concerned residents can also visit their physician, pharmacist or public health clinic for immunizations.

“We also need to talk about measles. It's spreading really quickly throughout the world,” she said. “It was considered eradicated and now it's not.

“If one person has it, 9 out of 10 people around them will get it if not vaccinated,” she said.

For more information on the measles and mumps cases, symptoms, treatment and vaccinations, go to cdc.gov.

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