Hextall: ‘Rampant’ mumps outbreak ‘absolutely’ a concern

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On Wednesday we learned that New Jersey’s Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson became the 10th and 11th players over five NHL teams to be diagnosed with the mumps. So far the Philadelphia Flyers have been one of the clubs spared by the outbreak, but they played New Jersey last night and battled another team that has dealt with the disease, the Anaheim Ducks, on Dec. 3.

Flyers GM Ron Hextall said his team is doing everything it can to prevent the spread of the virus, but that doesn’t change the fact that this remains a concern for the entire league.

“Absolutely,” Hextall said, per CSN Philly. “It’s been rampant around the league. And it’s not a one-day thing. I’ve talked to other managers, too, 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.”

To attempt to provide some context, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that there were only 438 reported cases of the mumps over 39 states in 2013. That’s down from around 186,000 cases annually in the United States prior to the start of the vaccination program in 1967. The CDC also says that the vaccine is very effective, but doesn’t provide complete protection.