DALLAS, TX — The All-Star National Cheerleading Championship this year brought fun, fierce competition and a possibility of mumps exposure. That’s right, cheerleaders from 39 states across the U.S. were put at risk of exposure to the mumps virus between Feb. 23 and Feb. 25 at Dallas’ Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center.
A letter of warning sent by Texas Health and Human Services did not name the person who first carried the virus to the competition, but a spokesperson told WFAA the carrier came from out of state.
Mumps is highly contagious but, thankfully, not usually serious. Symptoms are often flulike and include swollen glands, low-grade fever, tiredness and muscle aches. Symptoms usually appear anywhere between 14 and 25 days after infection but, according to the department, many people do not have symptoms at all.
The virus is spread through drops of saliva and sweat, which is why the cheerleading event is considered high risk. According to a tweet from the National Cheerleaders Association, 23,655 athletes and 2,600 coaches were in attendance at the competition.
Anyone experiencing mumps symptoms should stay home for five days after swollen glands appear, and anyone who has not received the mumps, measles and rubella vaccine should visit a doctor to discuss vaccination.
[Notice]: People who were at the @NCAupdates All-Star National Championship last month in @CityofFortWorth may have come into contact with someone contagious with mumps. Be alert for symptoms through March 22. Read more: https://t.co/BimkpL5rGp. pic.twitter.com/MCrFkADj5v— Texas DSHS (@TexasDSHS) March 7, 2018
Photo illustration: Vials of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine are displayed on a counter at a Walgreens Pharmacy on January 26, 2015 in Mill Valley, California. Health officials warn of a potential mumps exposure at a recent cheerleading competition in Dallas.. (Photo by Illustration Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)