Is the National Hockey League on the Verge of a Mumps Outbreak?

Sources: CBS Sports.com; Center For Disease Control.gov

Another day, another diagnosed case of the mumps in the NHL.

Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo confirmed on Thursday that defenseman Ryan Suter has the mumps, making him the seventh player in the NHL to be diagnosed over the past few months. Even though Suter has been diagnosed, Yeo said that he is not ready to rule Suter out for Friday’s game because “it affects people differently.”

For the Wild, it’s the fourth time they’ve had an encounter with the mumps after Keith Ballard and defensemen Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella had them earlier this season.

Last week, New York Rangers forward Tanner Glass was diagnosed with the mumps, while Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin of the Anaheim Ducks were both sidelined earlier this season.

Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by the mumps virus. Mumps typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, and is followed by swelling of salivary glands. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps.

The MMR vaccine — against measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles) is the best way to prevent mumps.

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. In addition, the virus may spread when someone with mumps touches items or surfaces without washing their hands and someone else then touches the same surface and rubs their mouth or nose.

Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12-25 days after infection. Most people with mumps recover fully. However, mumps can occasionally cause complications (such as) deafness or inflammation of the testicles, brains, ovaries, or breasts.

Currently, there is no specific treatment for mumps. Supportive care should be given as needed. If someone becomes very ill, they should seek medical attention, calling their doctor in advance so that they don’t have to sit in the waiting room and possibly infect other patients.

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