Texas state health officials warned athletes from nine countries and 39 U.S. states that they may have been exposed to mumps during a cheerleading competition in Dallas last month.
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.
Following the discovery, the department sent out letters to the parents of the children who participated in the competition held from Feb. 23 to Feb. 25. The event took place at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
About 23,655 athletes participated in the large-scale event, and around 2,600 coaches accompanied them. There were 1,320 participant teams in the said competition.
Cases Of Mumps In Texas
No resident from Texas has gotten infected with mumps in connection with the case. The state was, however, in the limelight last year for being on a 20-year high with mumps infecting even spring travelers, added Van Deusen.
"Texas has had 221 mumps cases this year, the largest total since there were 234 cases in 1994," the state health department said last year.
The rise of the contagious disease last year prompted physicians and health officials to eye a potential third dose of vaccination to support the ongoing immunization standards.
"There hasn't been any evidence to suggest that the MMR vaccine does not protect against circulating mumps strains," CDR press officer Ian Branam said. "However, outbreaks have occurred in highly vaccinated communities, particularly in close-contact settings, despite the protection afforded by mumps vaccination."
"Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, followed by swollen salivary glands," as described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "You can protect yourself and your family against mumps with vaccination."
Measles, mumps, and rubella or German measles are three highly contagious diseases that can lead to serious complications like miscarriages, meningitis, painful swelling of the testicles or the ovaries, brain damage, and even death. Getting the MMR vaccination is a safe way to prevent the three diseases.
Doctors usually give the first MMR dosage to children aged 12 to 15 months and the second dose is injected at four to six years. Experts also advise adults born after 1956 to get at least one vaccine dose of MMR.