ODESSA, TX (KWES) - The Texas Department of State Health Services is warning those against mumps outbreaks, the biggest outbreak in 22 years.
This outbreak is occurring in Texas and usually only children get immunized for the mumps, but it should last a lifetime.
Now doctors are questioning if this is true since the outbreak is occurring now with college aged students.
Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus, it spreads from person to person usually through saliva.
"We believe these outbreaks occur because somebody in the group has either not had their immunizations or they have been contaminated by someone else who is sick with it," Lawrence Voesack, Medical Doctor at Complete Care said.
A child will have a fever of up to 103 degrees or swelling on their neck or salivary glands, but in adults symptoms are different
This outbreak could cause major concern for those who are older.
"In adults that's where you can go to the extreme of the symptoms and you risk getting meningitis or infertility in men," Voesack said.
The vaccine is required only for children, but that could eventually change.
"We've always believed that gave lifetime immunization but its starting to show that it doesn't," he said. "This year Texas as of the middle of April has had 221 cases of mumps mainly in college aged students."
Since it is caused by a virus mumps does not respond to antibiotics.
Voesack typically recommends over-the-counter pain medicine like Aspirin or Tylenol or icing your neck.
Voesack said this same issue occurred with measles where an immunization is also required as a child until outbreaks later occurred in college-aged students.
Now a vaccine is required for college students for measles and he said eventually it could become the same way with mumps.