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Confirmed case of mumps reported at ICE detention facility in Aurora, state health officials say

Posted at 5:09 PM, Feb 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-27 21:09:10-05

DENVER – A case of the mumps has been confirmed at an ICE detention center in Aurora, Tri-County Health Department officials said Wednesday afternoon.

Along with the confirmed case, seven other possible cases are currently being investigated by Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) officials, in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, according to a news release sent by TCHD.

Health officials did not provide a timeline of when the contagious disease first appeared at the detention center, only saying they were made aware of about possible mumps earlier this month. Staff from the three agencies met with GEO Group, Inc. on Feb. 25 to review public health recommendations, some of which include putting in place isolation and quarantine procedures to prevent further spread of the disease at the detention center.

“Since the best way to keep mumps from spreading is to be vaccinated, detention center staff are working with TCHD and CDPHE staff to educate and vaccinate detainees and staff,” Gary Sky, a spokesperson for the Tri-County Health Department said in the release.

John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, the executive director of the Tri-County Health Department, said that while it is possible for more cases to appear due to the time period it takes for the vaccine to become effective, “we are confident these measures are the best approach to the current situation.”

Mumps is a contagious viral disease that typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, and jaw pain followed by swollen salivary glands, according to TCHD officials.

The illness is usually spread through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person by coughing, sneezing, or talking, as well as through the sharing of items such as cups or eating utensils, health officials said.