With three National Hockey League teams and nine players affected over the outbreak of the childhood viral disease, mumps, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the following in a statement recently, “It is certainly an outbreak that was unexpected and has caused unwanted disruption at the team level, but it is not something we have any significant control over. As long as our clubs are doing what they need to do to minimize risk of contraction, we are hopeful that the wave of cases will run their course and life will return to normal in the relatively near term.”

Hockey puck/William D. Moss DOD
Hockey puck/William D. Moss DOD

To date, the following players have contracted the contagious disease, according to The Globe and Mail: Minnesota Wild teammates Ryan Suter, Keith Ballard, Marco Scandella, Jonas Brodin and Christian Folin; Corey Perry, Clayton Stoner and Francois Beauchemin of the Anaheim Ducks and Tanner Glass of the New York Rangers.

Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Items used by an infected person, such as soft drink cans or eating utensils, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others if those items are shared.

Mumps symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite and swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears or jaw on one or both sides of the face (parotitis).

While typically a mild infection, mumps can occasionally cause serious complications.

The most common complication is inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) in males who have reachedpuberty; rarely does this lead to fertility problems.

Other rare complications include inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (encephalitis/meningitis), inflammation of the ovaries(oophoritis) and/or breasts (mastitis) in females who have reached puberty and deafness.

Doctors blame waning protection from the vaccine. Immunizations against measles, mumps and rubella or German measles have been combined in a single vaccine, called MMR, since 1971, NBC NEWS reports. Virtually all kids get it but measles and mumps especially can cause outbreaks if large groups of people don’t vaccinate their children or when people’s immune responses to the vaccine wear off.

From January 1 to August 15, 2014, 965 people in the United States have been reported to have mumps.

Outbreaks in at least four U.S. universities have contributed to these cases: Ohio State UniversityFordham University in New York University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


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