Local Cheerleaders May Have Been Exposed To Mumps At National Competition

FORT SMITH (KFSM)- Cheerleaders from Arkansas Cheer Unlimited in Fort Smith are just some of the hundreds of athletes from Arkansas who may have been exposed to mumps at a national competition in Dallas.

More than 23,000 athletes competed in the National Cheer Association (NCA) All-Star Nationals, but that number doesn't include the thousands of coaches and spectators that were also there.

NCA sent letters and emails to competitors and cheerleading gyms to let them know that someone with mumps was at the event.

"It`s generally transmitted through close contact of people who have the virus, either through eating or drinking after somebody and contact with clothing that`s been contaminated with the mumps virus," Dr. Steve Carney from Sparks Medical Clinic said.

The UA-Fort Smith cheerleading squad was also there and worked as part of a fundraiser for the team's upcoming competition.

"It`s generally transmitted through close contact of people who have the virus, either through eating or drinking after somebody and contact with clothing that`s been contaminated with the mumps virus," Katie Bruton, UAFS cheerleader said.

Doctors said it can take a few weeks to see symptoms such as fatigue, nausea and swelling of the cheeks, but some of the parents 5NEWS spoke with said they're not too worried about it.

"My kids have been vaccinated and they were probably exposed to everything there, so just keep washing their hands like usual," Chelsea Danekas, parent said. "Just keep an eye on them, if I notice anything out of the ordinary, take them to the doctor just like any other sickness."

The athletes said they'll continue practicing like normal while focusing on winning their next competition.

"They keep competing, we keep competing, just like any other athletes," Bruton said. "You want to compete, you want to do your best and win. We`re going to Daytona in a couple of weeks to compete at nationals to hopefully win another championship, so we`re just excited for that, look on the bright side and keep ourselves healthy."

As of now, no additional mumps cases have been reported.

Doctors ask those who went to the event to continue to keep an eye out for symptoms.