Vancouver Canucks hit by mumps outbreak
Darcy Matheson, CTV Vancouver
Published Friday, February 24, 2017 1:58PM PST
Last Updated Friday, February 24, 2017 2:13PM PST
A Vancouver Canucks player has contracted the mumps, and at least four others are displaying symptoms of the highly spreadable virus.
The team said Friday defenceman Troy Stecher had a confirmed diagnosis, and defencemen Chris Tanev and Nikita Tryamkin, centre Mike Chaput and forward Markus Granlund have each presented symptoms.
The Canucks are set to play the San Jose Sharks Saturday night at Rogers Arena. The team has not said if the upcoming game, or any other games in the calendar, will be cancelled or altered because of the illness.
General Manager Jim Benning said in a statement the team is taking the issue "very seriously given how easily mumps can spread."
The mumps virus, which causes flu-like symptoms, is spread through respiratory droplets of saliva and mucus from the nose, mouth and throat. It causes swollen and tender glands, and can lead to sleeplessness, small white spots on the inside of the mouth and throat, and a blotchy face rash.
Sneezing, coughing, kissing and sharing utensils or drinks are all common ways the virus is spread.
The players who are showing symptoms are being sidelined by the outbreak: They are being tested and quarantined in isolation for a five-day period, or until tests results prove negative, according to the team.
Vancouver Coastal Health authorities have been sent to Rogers Arena to screen the players and staff and provide immunizations for those who require it.
All dressing room areas are being disinfected, a recommendation from health authorities.
The team is working with the Vancouver Health Authority, NHL, NHLPA and BC Centre for Disease Control to "minimize transmission of the illness."
This isn’t the first time the NHL has been hit by the mumps. In 2014, a total of 17 players on five separate teams, including Sidney Crosby, were sidelined by the illness.
Several clusters of mumps outbreaks are being investigated in Ontario and Alberta.
In Toronto, 17 cases have been linked to people between the ages of 18 and 35 that went to bars in the same area of the city.
The outbreaks have caused public health officials to urge Canadians to ensure their vaccinations are up to date.
Mumps is covered by the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccines, but experts say people between 18 and 35 need to make sure they've had two doses to bolster their immunity.