Mumps Are Nothing to Cheer About

Thousands upon thousands of cheerleaders who were at the National Cheerleaders Association All-Star National Championship in Dallas, Texas in February may have been exposed to mumps by a fellow attendee. According to NBC, “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.”

According to the CDC, mumps is spread through the saliva or mucous and in rare cases can cause deafness or brain swelling. Most people who get mumps have very mild symptoms or none at all (which means they may unknowingly spread the virus) and many will recover in a few weeks.

Most people who are vaccinated against measles with the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) are protected. Many are vaccinated as children, and the mumps portion of the vaccine is estimated to be 88% effective with two doses. However, “In 2016, 6,366 cases were reported — the worst year for mumps in the U.S. since the MMR vaccine program was introduced in 1977.” Another glowing achievement of the anti-vaxxer movement perhaps?