Officials: UTRGV mumps case originated at Mission business

MISSION — The mumps case that was discovered by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley originated at a Mission business, officials here confirmed, adding that five other possible cases are under investigation.

The Mission city council called an emergency meeting Thursday afternoon to address the issue, agreeing to fully cooperate with the Hidalgo County Health Department, the agency handling the investigation, and to review the health permits of businesses alleged to be involved.

“Although there is a discussion that this outbreak may have originated within our city limits, it is crucial to understand this is a county-wide matter and thus the Hidalgo County health department will naturally take the lead in this investigation,” said City Councilman Gus Martinez.

The one confirmed case is of a UTRGV student, however, the university was not the source of the virus, according to Eddie Olivarez, the Hidalgo County Health and Human Services director.

There is also no indication that it originated within the immigrant community, Olivarez said, but would not provide more details about where the mumps case originated.

“Mumps is a contagious virus that causes fever, muscle aches, headache, loss of appetite and swelling of the salivary glands which can include the jaw and neck area,” Olivarez said during a news conference at Mission city hall. “Other glands can swell or become tender, most notably adult males may experience swollen or tender testicles.”

The main message, Olivarez said, was that vaccinations are important.

“This is a preventable illness,” Olivarez said. “So make sure to get to get vaccinated if you haven’t been vaccinated.”

He noted the county had a high vaccination rate which he said ranged from the high 80s to the low 90s.

“Higher than the national average and probably equal or higher than the state average,” he said.

In response to the situation, Olivarez said the medical community was on alert and the university was also providing assistance.

Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña reiterated that the city would pull health permits from businesses that the county health department had linked to the outbreak until the matter was resolved.

“We are vigilant and we’re doing surveillance and we’re doing as much prevention as we can,” O’Caña said, “and cooperating with Hidalgo County and we’re working together with the state and the CDC.”