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UPDATE: 400 Inmates Are Now Quarantined At Harris County Jail Because Of Mumps Outbreak

There are seven confirmed cases and eight more people that are potential cases.

Photo of Harris County Jail
Florian Martin/Houston Public Media
The Harris County jail, in downtown Houston.

The number of quarantined inmates at the Harris County jail has increased 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 400 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.

EDITOR’s NOTE: Based on information provided by the Houston Health Department on Friday, June 21, the original version of this story reported there were 600 inmates under quarantine. A spokesman for the department told News 88.7 on Monday, June 24, the current number of quarantined inmates is 414, but jail staffers have made plans for housing 600 inmates that could be placed under quarantine.

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