Published: Thu, March 08, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Thousands of cheerleaders may have been exposed to mumps, say state officials

Thousands of cheerleaders may have been exposed to mumps, say state officials

Texas state health officials warned athletes from nine countries and 39 USA states that they may have been exposed to mumps during a cheerleading competition in Dallas last month.

Over 23,000 athletes from 39 states and nine countries, plus 2,600 coaches participated in the competition from February 23 to February 25 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, according to the Washington Post.

Developing symptoms can take as long as 25 days after a person is infected with mumps, but it happens typically between 14 and 18 days, the health department says.

Anyone diagnosed with or suspected of having mumps should stay home for five days after swollen glands appear.

Mumps is usually spread through saliva and respiratory droplets from when a person with the virus coughs and sneezes.

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Cheerleaders from the competition who have received two doses of the mumps vaccine are encouraged to contact their doctors to get an additional booster dose of the MMR vaccine to increasing waning immunity. Many people don't have symptoms, according to the state health department. Anyone who was present during that time may have been exposed, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) said in a letter.

Van Deusen told the Post there have been no reports of cases connected to the cheering event, but added that the "incubation period" is almost at its end. Getting vaccinated prevents mumps. "Since the pre-vaccine era, there has been a more than 99% decrease in mumps cases in the United States". MMR vaccine is not recommended for children less than 1 year of age.

"Before the US mumps vaccination program started in 1967, mumps was a universal disease of childhood", the CDC points out on its website.

While vaccination against mumps is the best protection against mumps infection, vaccinated individuals may still become infected.

There's no specific treatment for mumps. It also can be spread through shared utensils.

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