The National Hockey League anticipates problems that they will have to deal with each, and every season. The thought that a mumps outbreak would be one of them was not even on the radar. Mumps is a viral infection that is very, very uncommon. The United States and Canada usually have under 2000 cases a year. Often times considerably less.
If it is so uncommon, than how has 15 NHL players been diagnosed with the rare virus? It is a mystery. No other professional sport has experienced an outbreak or even a case of the mumps in recent history. Vaccinations for mumps are mandatory in the United States, but only three provinces in Canada require it for children. Children receive vaccinations at ages one to four. Approximately 90% of children will develop immunity from these vaccinations. It is very effective at eliminating mumps, but not 100% effective.
The transmission of mumps is through saliva or sweat. With 15 players diagnosed, and Chicago Blackhawks Duncan Keith is currently ill, and undergoing testing the NHL is on high alert. Many NHL teams are giving players booster shots, designating personal water bottles, and monitoring player interactions. With stars such as Sidney Crosby out with the mumps, the NHL is taking this problem very serious. Team doctors are taking precautions, and monitoring players closely. When symptoms arise players are now being quarantined.
Players Diagnosed with Mumps:
- Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh
- Derick Brassard – New York Rangers
- Tanner Glass – New York Rangers
- Adam Larsson – New Jersey
- Corey Perry – Anaheim
- Francois Beauchemin – Anaheim
- Clayton Stoner – Anaheim
- Emerson Etem – Anaheim
- Ryan Suter – Minnesota
- Jonas Brodin – Minnesota
- Keith Ballard – Minnesota
- Marco Scandella – Minnesota
- Christian Folin – Minnesota
- Travis Zajac – New Jersey
- Beau Bennett – Pittsburgh
This is a very interesting and uncommon problem for the NHL to have. It will be interesting to see what other precautions will be taken, and how many players will be infected. Here are some very important facts about mumps:
What is mumps?
Mumps is a contagious viral infection that can cause painful swelling of the salivary glands, especially the parotid glands (between the ear and the jaw). Some people with mumps won’t have gland swelling. They may feel like they have a bad cold or the flu instead.
Mumps usually goes away on its own in about 10 days. But in some cases, it can cause complications that affect the brain (meningitis), the testicles (orchitis), the ovaries (oophoritis), or the pancreas (pancreatitis).
The mumps vaccine protects against the illness. This vaccine is part of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) and MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella [chickenpox]) vaccines. Most children get the vaccine as part of their regular shots. Before the mumps vaccine existed, mumps was a common childhood disease in the United States and Canada.
What causes mumps?
Mumps is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes near you or shares food or drinks.
You can spread the virus 7 days before and for 9 days after symptoms start. You are most likely to spread the virus 1 to 2 days before and 5 days after symptoms start.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms may include:
- Swelling and pain in the jaw. One or both cheeks may look swollen.
- Headache, earache, sore throat, and pain when you swallow or open your mouth.
- Pain when you eat sour foods or drink sour liquids, such as citrus fruit or juice.
- Tiredness, with aching in the muscles and joints.
- Poor appetite and vomiting.
It usually takes 2 to 3 weeks to get symptoms after you have been exposed to the virus. This is called the incubation period. Some people who are infected with the mumps virus don’t have any symptoms.
If you have more serious symptoms, such as a stiff neck or a severe headache, painful testicles, or severe belly pain, call your doctor right away.
* Mumps facts provided via WebMD
Mumps is no longer very common in the United States. From year to year, mumps cases can range from roughly a couple hundred to a couple thousand. For example in 2010, there were 2,612 cases, and in 2012, there were 229. Before the U.S. mumps vaccination program started in 1967, about 186,000 cases were reported each year. Since the pre-vaccine era, there has been a more than 99% decrease in mumps cases in the United States. 2014 Mumps Cases:
From January 1 to November 29, 2014, 1,078 people in the United States have been reported to have mumps.
- Since November, CDC has received reports of people with mumps, who are affiliated with professional hockey teams.
- CDC is working with the states affected, as they conduct public health investigations.
In 2013, 438 people from 39 states in the U.S. were reported to have mumps.
* Mumps statistics provided from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
*Photo by Getty Images
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