NHL teams cancel hospital holiday visits over mumps outbreak

As mumps continues to spread to NHL players on multiple teams, many teams have changed their public appearances, including planned holiday visits to hospitals, according to the USA TODAY.

Some team decisions to cancel holiday hospital appearances came after news broke that staff and patients at Pittsburgh Children's Hospital may have been exposed to mumps during a visit from a Pittsburgh Penguins player, according to the report.

So far, at least five teams have canceled hospital appearances due to the NHL mumps outbreak: The New York Islanders, the Calgary Flames, the Carolina Hurricanes, the Minnesota Wild and the Anaheim Ducks.

The Islanders, Flames and Hurricanes have not had any players diagnosed with mumps, but still postponed visiting hospitals as a precaution, according to the report. The Wild and the Ducks both have had or currently have players with mumps.

The highly contagious disease has spread around the NHL since October. Teams have taken steps to quell its spread, including offering mumps vaccines to players or testing them to see if their antibody count is high.

Mumps had mostly been eradicated in the U.S. since the introduction of its vaccine. Two doses of the mumps vaccine are 88 percent effective at preventing the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Find more information on mumps in the NHL here.

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