Health Care

Thousands of cheerleaders may have been exposed to mumps at Texas competition

Thousands of cheerleaders may have been exposed to mumps at Texas competition

If your child attended a national cheerleading competition in Dallas last month, you need to pay attention to their health.

The affiliation said on Twitter that in excess of 23,000 competitors and 2,600 mentors took part in the opposition from February 23 to 25 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.

The infection could have been spread by a participant from another state, who had come to the Texan city for the National Cheerleaders Association All-Star National Championship, said Chris Van Deusen of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Mumps is a contagious viral disease that presents itself as a fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and loss of appetite about two weeks after it's contracted, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Mumps is spread through saliva, like when a person with the illness coughs and sneezes, or by sharing cups or utensils with someone who's infected.

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"Just to be on the safe side we want people to be on the lookout for symptoms". In extreme cases, it can cause male infertility problems and brain swelling. Some people also may not have symptoms.

"For the vast majority of people, the risk is very, very low". And no Texas residents have developed mumps in connection with the case. Infected people without symptoms may still be able to transmit the virus. In 2016, 6,366 cases were reported - the worst year for mumps in the USA since the MMR vaccine program was introduced in 1977.

A vaccine for mumps is available and encouraged especially for children over the age of 1.

A total of 130 mumps infections were reported in 25 states between January 1-27, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Because efficacy can wane over time, there are frequent outbreaks of mumps in the U.S.