State health officials investigating mumps outbreaks

NORTH TEXAS — The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is investigating two outbreaks of mumps in North Texas, including an outbreak believed to be tied to four cheerleading competitions.

State health officials are working with event organizers of four cheerleading competitions to contact people who attended at least one of the competitions in North Texas during November and December to inform them that they may have been exposed to a person with mumps. So far, DSHS has identified 11 mump cases associated with the outbreak.

The four cheerleading competitions in North Texas were:

• 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

People who attended those events and later develop mumps symptoms should contact their health care provider and tell them about the exposure to mumps.

Click here to read the DSHS letter sent to parents of cheerleaders who attended the events.

DSHS is also investigating a mumps outbreak in Johnson County. Health officials have identified 72 cases in the outbreak, including 71 Johnson County residents and one Tarrant County resident. Most of the people involved are students, and DSHS has been working with school districts in the area to limit the spread of the disease.

Mumps symptoms include swollen or tender salivary glands, swollen or tender testicles, low fever, tiredness and muscle aches. People usually develop symptoms 14-18 days after being exposed to the virus that causes mumps, but it can be as long as 25 days. Anyone suspected of having mumps should stay home while they’re contagious – five days after swollen glands occur.

Mumps is spread through coughing and sneezing and sharing cups and utensils. While vaccination is the best protection against mumps, even people who are vaccinated can become infected. People should also prevent spreading mumps and other illnesses by covering coughs and sneezes, washing their hands frequently with soap and water, and not sharing food and drinks.