At least 13 players and two referees in the National Hockey League (NHL) have received a confirmed diagnosis of mumps, despite most having received vaccination against the disease. Sidney Crosby, captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is the latest to have contracted the infection even though he received a booster vaccination as recently as February.
The outbreak appears to have started in early November when Anaheim Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin contracted mumps; three other members of the Ducks were later diagnosed with mumps, along with players from three additional teams. It is believed that because symptoms can take up to three weeks to develop, the virus was spread via saliva before players received a diagnosis and that the vaccine failed to maintain the level of antibodies needed for immunization. Given the nature of hockey (players receiving consistent hits and saliva spreading easily), it is recommended that all individuals affiliated with the NHL receive a booster vaccine to cap the outbreak.
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