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NHL hit with outbreak of mumps – SportsUntapped.com
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Added December 8th, 2014 by Ian

NHL hit with outbreak of mumps
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NHL players may literally want to clean up their act since at least a dozen of them have been diagnosed with the mumps so far in the 2014/15 season. The latest to be hit with the disease is all-star defenseman Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild. In fact he’s the fifth member of the Wild to suffer from mumps. His teammates Jonas Brolin, Christian Folin, Keith Ballard and Marco Scandella all missed several games this campaign due to the disease. In addition, three members of the Anaheim Ducks missed games with mumps earlier in the season. These were Francois Beauchemin, Clayton Stoner and Corey Perry.

Mumps is generally regarded as a children’s disease and it’s actually pretty rare in the U.S, but it’s becoming a problem in the NHL since players are in close contact with each other and have a habit of spreading germs through bodily fluids such as saliva and sweat on a regular basis. According to the medical profession, mumps is typically spread from person to person via droplets of mucus or saliva from the throat, nose or mouth of somebody who is infected with it. This means the germs can easily be spread when somebody talks, sneezes, coughs or spits.

Also, the virus can spread when somebody with the mumps has germs on their hands and another person touches them or comes in contact with a surface the infected person has touched. With players sharing water bottles in penalty boxes and on the benches it’s easy to see how the germs can be spread. We also see sweaty players hugging each other after goals and believe it or not, the germs can pass through their padding and uniforms.

To make matters worse, mumps carriers are contagious before they even realize they have the illness because it often takes about five days for the symptoms to show up. In some cases a person may go as long as 18 days without showing any symptoms. Therefore there could be several players who have the disease and aren’t aware of it. Coaches may want to dress players who have had the mumps and now feel fine, but it’s too risky as they could still be highly contagious.
The U.S. has a mandatory vaccination policy in effect and there are usually only a few hundred known cases of the disease each year. However, there isn’t a national vaccination policy in Canada and many players have never been protected against the mumps, even as children. And even if they have been vaccinated, reports state that the success rate of the needles is only about 88 per cent.

Most NHL teams are now vaccinating all of their players against mumps because of the recent outbreak, but for some it’s a little bit too late. While 12 cases of the mumps may not represent an epidemic, there were just 438 recorded instances of the disease in all of America last year.

 
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