The Honduran Ministry of Health announced a medical state of emergency on Wednesday, September 19, for northern Cortés department amid an ongoing mumps epidemic that has infected at least 5500 people since January. Cortés department is among the areas most affected by the outbreak with 3788 cases reported - 855 of which have been reported in the region's capital, San Pedro Sula. Health authorities estimate that 3.2 million adults are susceptible to the disease due to low vaccination rates and have expanded a nationwide measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination program to stop the spread of the disease.
Mumps is an extremely contagious viral disease which is spread via airborne droplets emitted from the upper respiratory tract. Symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, and loss of appetite, followed by the swelling of the salivary (parotid) glands that can lead to difficulties in chewing and swallowing; the disease is asymptomatic in 20 percent of cases. Adult males without immunity are particularly susceptible to a more severe form of mumps.
Individuals in or planning to travel to Honduras are advised to verify that their mumps vaccination and any necessary booster shots are up to date and to take hygienic precautions.
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