27 mumps cases detected at a single Texas high school

Dallas County Health and Human Services detected 27 cases of the mumps among teachers and students at Cedar Hill (Texas) High School.

The health department also detected six other mumps cases — unrelated to the high school outbreak — in Dallas and the Texas city of Mesquite. Health officials are urging unvaccinated community residents to seek immunization.

"At two doses, the [mumps, measles and rubella] vaccine has 88 percent effectiveness," said Christopher Perkins, DO, the county health department's medical director. "Getting vaccinated is the best option for protection in addition to washing hands frequently and cleaning [or] disinfecting objects or surfaces that may be contaminated with germs."

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The number of unvaccinated children in Texas has steadily risen since 2003, when the state expanded its exemption criteria. Personal-belief exemptions in the state surged from 2,314 in the 2003-2004 school year to 44,716 in 2015-2016. In some parts of the state, vaccine adherence is dipping below the 90 to 95 percent level needed to ensure herd immunity, according to The Washington Post.

The anti-vaccine movement in Texas has also gained traction in the state legislature.

"We have 30 champions in that statehouse," said Jackie Schlegel, executive director of Texans for Vaccine Choice, highlighting the movement's progress during a fall 2016 panel on vaccines in Austin, according to the Post. "Last session, we had two."

To learn more about the mumps, click here.

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