UPDATE (2/27/17): The mumps didn’t stay quarantined in Vancouver for very long. As expected, the virus has spread, as the Minnesota Wild announced that Zach Parise and Jason Pominville have been diagnosed with the mumps and the team has begun measures to isolate the pair and examine and vaccinate the rest of the team. However, it will have to wait until tomorrow, as the team made the announcement not long before the puck-drop on their game against the Los Angeles Kings. For those worried about the Kings players being infected, the Wild are coming off of their bye week, have not played the Canucks since February 4th, and have not played any opponents who faced Vancouver any later than that, so direct exposure is not the problem.
In a story NHL fans know all too well, the Vancouver Canucks announced today that Troy Stecher has a confirmed diagnosis of the mumps, with several others presenting symptoms. Stetcher along with Chris Tanev, Nikita Tryamkin, Michael Chaput and Markus Granlund will all be quarantined and isolated for at least five days, and vaccines are starting to be administered to all the players that haven’t shown symptoms.
Because it’s not clear when the team discovered the virus, it’s not known how far into their isolation the players are. Ben Kuzma of Postmedia reports that all but Tanev are already ruled out for Saturday’s game, with him being questionable. The team has recalled Alexandre Grenier and Even McEneny to replace the sick players, and will bring up Jordan Subban should Tanev also miss the game.
The NHL has had mumps outbreaks before, on several teams around the league. It caught the attention of international health media in 2014 when Sidney Crosby conducted an interview with a face like a chipmunk, but has long been a problem. Teams have been given booster shots in the past even when they weren’t showing symptoms because of the risk involved. Mumps can result in a large number of symptoms and can even lead to meningitis, which is acute and possibly fatal. While the players are at very little risk of this, the fact that it is so contagious is alarming for Vancouver Coastal Health, who will be handling the situation.