The disease is spread through saliva or mucus, when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches something with the infection on their hands. Symptoms can appear anywhere from 12 to 25 days after someone is infected, the CDC said. Because of the long gestation period for mumps, it can slip past the mandatory health screenings that take place when someone is booked at one of these facilities.
It is not clear how many detainees entered the facility infected, and how many contracted the infection while they were in custody. At least some of the infected people were employees who worked at the facility, the Tribune reported.
While cases of mumps still happen in the United States, preventative vaccines for the disease are commonly administered to children. This has greatly decreased the prevalence of the disease.
A spokeswoman for the Department of State Health Services told the Tribune that those infected were anywhere between 13 and 66 years old.
Dr. David Persse from the Houston Health Department told the Tribune that he didn't believe immigration officials were doing enough to contain the spread of the disease. Persse's department has confirmed several cases of mumps in the city this year.
"It tells me the isolation and quarantine efforts are not being done as diligently as it could be done," he said.
Persse added that even if every precaution was taken, the disease could still spread given how long it takes for symptoms to first appear.