From the Media
Mumps and the National Hockey League
We live at a time when we don’t often hear about outbreaks of mumps, but recently, this vaccine-preventable disease has been in the news because several players from the National Hockey League (NHL) have been diagnosed with mumps. Indeed, players from at least five NHL teams have recently had mumps, and the hope is that the outbreak will soon wane. Some teams have offered booster doses of the vaccine.
When vaccine-preventable diseases are in the news because public figures have them, it is attention grabbing, and, therefore, provides a unique opportunity to discuss the disease. So, what should people know about mumps?
- People may be contagious with mumps before their symptoms develop and for about five days after symptoms appear.
- Mumps is spread by respiratory droplets from infected people, such as from coughing or sneezing.
- Groups in close quarters, such as college students in dorms or sports team members, may be at increased risk of spreading the disease.
- Sharing drinking containers or utensils can also spread the infection.
- Typical symptoms include fever, headache, achiness, fatigue, loss of appetite and swollen glands that are described as making one look like a chipmunk.
- Symptoms may not appear for up to three weeks after exposure.
- About 1 of every 2 people infected with mumps have no or very minimal symptoms, so they do not realize they are infected. Unfortunately, they can still spread the disease.
- Two doses of mumps-containing vaccine are recommended. However, even with both doses, only about 8 or 9 of every 10 people will be sufficiently protected from the disease.
- Complications can include swelling of reproductive organs leading to fertility problems, swelling of the brain or spinal cord, or deafness.
Outbreaks of mumps have also occurred on four college campuses this year: Ohio State, Fordham, U of Wisconsin, Madison campus and U of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus.
For additional information about mumps outbreaks, see these resources:
For additional information about mumps or the MMR vaccine, check these resources: