Tens of thousands of people who attended a cheerleaders competition in Dallas last month may have been exposed to mumps, Texas health officials say.
After learning that someone from another state who attended the event had mumps, the state's health department sent out warning letters last Friday about possible exposure to the disease, the Washington Post reported.
"If you, your child, or any other individuals linked to this event experience or have experienced mumps symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider and inform them of your exposure to mumps," the letter states.
There have been no reports of mumps in Texas or any other states in connection with the National Cheerleaders Association All-Star National Championship held Feb. 23-25, according to health department spokesman Chris Van Deusen.
He told the Post that the "incubation period" is nearly over and that the "next few days will probably be telling." He said the more than 23,000 cheerleaders and 2,600 coaches from 39 states and nine countries have been advised to watch for mumps symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen jaw and cheeks.
Symptoms typically occur 16 to 18 days after exposure to the virus, which is spread by "breathing in saliva droplets of an infected person who has just sneezed or coughed" or from "sharing utensils or cups with someone who has mumps," according to the Mayo Clinic.
It said there is a vaccine for mumps but no specific treatment, but people with the mumps usually recover within a few weeks, the Post reported.