#1: Another Mumps Outbreak Threatens to Freeze Out Hockey Season
Although hockey fans are used to living through their share of upsets (such as the Ottawa Senators’ 2015 comeback), this season two National Hockey League (NHL) teams are being impacted by an upset of the infectious kind, not by points. An outbreak of mumps has sidelined teammates on both the Minnesota Wild and the Vancouver Canucks. Two forwards, an assistant coach, and a team services staff member on the Wild were diagnosed last month, and 7 players and one trainer have recently been diagnosed and isolated on the Canucks.
Individuals are typically immunized against the highly contagious virus through the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine regimen, which is typically administered before kindergarten. Two doses of the vaccine can render protection against the virus up to 88%; however, with the increase in global travel and incidence of unvaccinated individuals in the United States, outbreaks of mumps are popping up more frequently. Indeed, the outbreaks of the virus that impacted multiple states in 2016 will go down as the largest mumps outbreak in a decade
According to the NHL, teams are taking no chances against the viral infection. Any players suspected of infection are being held out of games and isolated for a period of 5 days while diagnosis is confirmed. In addition, those who are diagnosed (included coaches, trainers, and referees) will miss at least 3 games. The Wild is taking it a step further by using a “Sani Sport” machine to sanitize and disinfect equipment. Twenty-eight teams in the league also use the device which can reduce and eliminate “the spread of bacterial and viral infections, such as mumps, Staphylococcus aureus
, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
(MRSA), that might otherwise thrive in a sweaty, moist environment with a high volume of saliva, mucus, and blood.”
Vaccinations are being provided to all players via team doctors. At the time the article was published, only one player was eligible to return to active play after recovering from the infection, but he has yet to do so.
More about the mumps outbreak in NHL teams is available here
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