Children infected with the mumps don’t always show symptoms—vaccinations are still your best protection against the disease.

Cheerleading Squad Outside Event Cheering
Credit: Randall Schieber

Tens of thousands of cheerleaders may have been exposed to the mumps at a recent national competition in Dallas, according to the Texas Department of State Health.

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

The National Cheerleading Association said 23,655 athletes and 2,600 coaches from 39 states attended the NCA All-Star Nationals, which ran from February 23-25 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

Texas Department of State Health said it can take as long as 25 days for people infected by the virus to exhibit symptoms, but most cases develop within two weeks.

Mumps is a contagious viral illness. Mumps symptoms include swollen or tender salivary glands, swollen or tender testicles, low-grade fever, tiredness, and muscle aches. Health officials said children could be infected with the mumps and show zero symptoms.

Texas Department of Health and Human Resources said while vaccination against mumps is the best protection against mumps infection, vaccinated individuals may still become infected.

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

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