Texas health officials struggling to cope with mumps outbreak

Texas health officials are struggling to cope with a record-breaking outbreak of mumps that has swept through the entire state, sickening hundreds of people.

According to a statement released by the Texas Department of State Health Services, 221 cases of mumps have been in the state so far this year. The figure represents the highest number of cases of mumps since 1994, when 234 cases were recorded in the state.

College students have particularly been among the hardest hit by the viral disease, which mainly spreads through close personal contact with the already infected person.

The state health department said, “State, regional and local health departments are currently investigating multiple outbreaks throughout the state, including one involving possible exposures on South Padre Island, a popular spring break destination.”

Last year the U.S. experienced several outbreaks of the mumps that sickened at least 5,748 individuals. In 2015, there were merely 229 cases. Since the start of an outbreak in October last year, Washington recorded 756 cases of mumps.

Caused by the mumps virus, the infection affects the parotid glands, and salivary glands below and in front of the ears. It is characterized by symptoms like fever, muscle pain, headache, fatigue and loss of appetite.