Tens of thousands of cheerleaders possibly exposed to mumps at national competition

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- Thousands of athletes, coaches and parents were possibly exposed to mumps at a national cheerleading competition that was held last month in Dallas.

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.

"Many people do not have any symptoms", though they can still spread the virus, the Texas DSHS said.

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

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Mumps, which is spread through the saliva or mucus of an infected person, causes puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw as it affects the salivary glands.

The MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, is given during childhood, although it's not foolproof. Some people also may not have symptoms.

The agency alerted attendees by letter that they may have come in contact with a contagious person at the competition.

A total of 130 mumps infections were reported in 25 states between January 1-27, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And no Texas residents have developed mumps in connection with the case. In 2016, 6,366 cases were reported - the worst year for mumps in the USA since the MMR vaccine program was introduced in 1977. If you are unsure of you or your child's vaccination status or if your child has not received both doses, consult your healthcare provider and explain the situation. Many traveled from out-of-state.

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Most of those infected with the virus, without complications, typically recover within two weeks.

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

The Texas DHS says vaccines offer the "best protection", but vaccinated individuals can still become infected.

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