Mumps outbreak 'absolutely' concerns Flyers' Hextall
The spread of mumps around the NHL has concerned Flyers general manager Ron Hextall so much that some of his players have recently had vaccines.
"We've addressed some things," Hextall said after the Flyers' workmanlike 4-1 win over New Jersey on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center. "We've got it covered as much as we can. Clean buildings and wash your hands and vaccines and everything else you can do. We've done everything we can do to protect our players and our staff."
Two Devils _ center Travis Zajac and defenseman Adam Larsson _ missed Thursday's game with the mumps. Minnesota has had the most players (five) affected, while Anaheim has had three, and the Rangers have had one.
All told, four NHL teams and 11 players have had the contagious virus since the season started.
It does not seem coincidental that the players came down with the mumps after facing a team that had been affected by the virus.
Anaheim hosted the Wild in mid-October, while New Jersey and the Rangers played each other a few days later. Minnesota visited the Rangers not long after that before facing the Devils in mid-November.
Mumps, a one-time common disease in infants and children, is a highly contagious viral infection with an incubation period of 14-18 days from exposure to onset of symptoms, according to MedicineNet.com.
The duration of the disease is approximately 10 days.
Mumps have become rare in the United States since children started getting vaccinated for it in 1967. The disease usually starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches and tiredness, followed by swelling of the salivary glands.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said there were about 186,000 mumps cases reported in the United States each year before the vaccination started. That number has been dramatically reduced, and last year there were just 438 cases in the U.S., the CDC said.
Hextall didn't have a breakdown on how many Flyers have had the mumps in the past.
"I don't think you can get it (again) if you've had it. But if you've had the vaccination when you were young, apparently it wears off," he said. "I'm not a doctor. I shouldn't be talking about this, but that's what they've told me."
According to the Immunization Action Coalition, people who have had mumps are usually protected for life against another mumps infection. Second occurrences, it said, rarely occur.
Defenseman Braydon Coburn is among the Flyers who had a vaccine when younger, but decided to get another one recently as a precaution.
After Flyers trainer Jim McCrossin addressed the Flyers about the mumps a couple of weeks ago, "I called my mom and asked her if I had gotten my shots," Coburn said. "She told me I had gotten most of them, but I went out and got a booster just in case. And it sounded like a lot of our guys were making sure they were up on their shots or getting a booster."
The mumps outbreak is "absolutely" a concern, Hextall said. "It's been rampant around the league. And it's not a one-day thing. I've talked to other managers that it had gone through their team and their docs have told them that everybody on their team has been exposed to it, but only certain people are susceptible for whatever reason.
"We've talked long and hard about it. Talked to our medical staff numerous times, and we've addressed it as best as we can."
Hextall said the Flyers have "cleaned (arena) rooms and we've got hand wash all over the place _ I was making jokes today about it. So we've done what we can do."
Hextall said defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (knee surgery) was progressing on schedule, and that center Ryan White (torn chest muscle) had been cleared for contact.
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