Two Michigan jails experiencing mumps outbreaks

Michigan is in the middle of a measles outbreak but are mumps next? Two Michigan jails on opposite sides of the state are dealing with mumps outbreaks.

Shahad Atiya is an immigration attorney for an asylum seeker from Guatemala. Her client is in federal detention and is awaiting a hearing in Calhoun County Jail. For days she couldn't get in touch her client.

"That's why I was reaching out to him and saying to his family 'can you please have him call me, can you please have him call me - he has an interview coming up'. And I wasn't hearing from him and the interview kept getting rescheduled," Atiya said.

On Tuesday, she found what was happening from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). There was a mumps outbreak at the Calhoun County Jail, which houses 630 inmates and 120 staff members.

The highly contagious condition has symptoms similar to the flu including fever, headache, and muscle ache. But it's best known for the puffy cheeks and tender, swollen jaw - which result in swollen salivary glands under the ears.

Some people who get the mumps have very mild symptoms but in rare cases, it can cause severe complications including inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

But the Calhoun County wasn't an isolated outbreak because Monroe County Jail was also experiencing the same.

As it turns out, an inmate who was transferred there for deportation from Calhoun County on April 14th had the mumps and had to be sent back the jail in Battle Creek. 

Monroe County Jail administrators say inmates there are being quarantined for 25 days. They also said the county health department responded immediately to inoculate 80 inmates and 9 employees.

Jail officials say inmates who have bonded out or served their time are being released with instructions about how to quarantine themselves. With the recent outbreak in measles cases in Metro Detroit, some fear the mumps could be next.

"Non-immigration detainees are going to get out faster than immigration detainees, mixing back up with population on the outside. That's, really, a bigger concern," Atiya said.

Atiya said she still doesn't know if her client in Battle Creek is sick or how many people there have the mumps. The Calhoun County Jail hasn't responded to FOX 2 requests for comment.

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Atiya says the entire jail is quarantined and she can't even speak with her client by phone, who was supposed to have his asylum hearing more than a week ago. Instead, she's locked up, unable to communicate with anyone for 25 days.