People who attended recent North Texas cheerleading competitions are being warned they may have been exposed to the mumps.
The Texas Department of State Health Services is sending letters to those who attended cheer competitions at the following locations and dates:
- Nov. 6 – NCA North Texas Classic and North Texas Division II Classic, College Park Center, University of Texas at Arlington
- Nov. 19 – Dallas Platinum Championship, Dr Pepper Arena, Frisco
- Dec. 3 – NCA Holiday Classic, Dr Pepper Arena, Frisco
- Dec. 10 – SC Christmas Classic, Dallas Convention Center
So far, 11 cases of the mumps have been linked to the outbreak associated with the competitions.
Experts say symptoms can develop as long as 25 days after exposure to mumps, but typically develop after 14 to 18 days.
Symptoms include low-grade fever, tiredness, muscle aches and swollen salivary glands.
"They look like chipmunks," said Dr. Laurie Berger, with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano.
Berger says because the mumps are spread through respiratory droplets, the holidays are one of the worst times for an outbreak to spread.
"It's the holiday season. We are going to travel from place to place. We're going to be with our family. We're going to be sharing meals, and that's the ideal condition for mumps to spread," Berger said.
A spokesperson for the DSHS says the letters were sent this week to organizations that run the cheer competitions which will be in charge of passing the information along.