600 inmates quarantined at Harris County Jail because of Mumps outbreak

The number of quarantined inmates at the Harris County jail has doubled in one week because of a mumps outbreak, a spokesman for the Houston Health Department told News 88.7 on Friday. Currently, there are approximately 600 quarantined inmates, while the number was 300 as of Thursday, June 13.

Porfirio Villarreal said the number of confirmed mumps cases is still seven, six inmates and one jail staffer were diagnosed. Another eight people are being monitored for potential infection. That’s one more than what Dr. David Persse, Houston’s EMS medical director, reported last week.

Jail medical staff first recognized an inmate with mumps symptoms in mid-May.

Last week, Persse said his department is concerned about the outbreak because there can be serious complications in a small percentage of patients, including swelling and damage of reproductive organs, as well as inflammation of the brain. Mumps can also be dangerous for pregnant women.

Mumps symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite and swollen glands under the ears or jaw. An infected person can spread mumps by coughing or sneezing.

The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine offers safe and long-lasting protection against mumps. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children receive two dose of MMR vaccine, the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.