Texas has seen 221 cases of mumps this year. That’s more cases than at any time in the past 20 years, reports KUT.
So, why is this happening? Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, says it’s probably not because vaccination rates are dropping. Instead, he said, it may be because, at only 80% effectiveness, the mumps element of the MMR vaccine is less potent than the measles and rubella portions. (Hotez, by the way, still insisted that the drop in vaccination rates is concerning.)
Instead, the mumps outbreak appears to be geographical—related to a major outbreak in Arkansas.
The mumps numbers are expected to continue to rise.
Texans are advised to watch to for symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and swollen salivary glands on either side of the neck. Residents should also avoid sharing cups and utensils.