Officially, Adam Larsson has been listed as having either the flu or “illness” as he’s been out of the New Jersey Devils’ lineup.
But as the young defenseman tells Norran, a Swedish publication, he’s now at least the 11th NHL player to have contracted the mumps this season.
"[These] have been among the worst days of life," said Larsson.
“I have actually no idea how I got there but goes around the league like wildfire,” he said. “One thing is for sure: I have never in my life been this sick before.”
Joining Larsson is teammate Travis Zajac, according to Tom Gulitti. "Travis had it, but he's over it.," said Devils GM Lou Lamoriello. "This (the confirmation) only came about the last two days. Adam is on the recovery period right now from what the doctors said."
The NHL has sent information to every team, to be posted in dressing rooms, about how to help stop the outbreak that’s affected nearly a dozen players, including stars like Corey Perry and Ryan Suter. The Devils are the fourth team to be affected by it, along with the Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), mumps is spread through the saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose or throat of an infected person through coughing, sneezing or talking. It can also be spread through the shared use of drinking cups or eating utensils.
"There are some level of cases that occur in the United States every year, and it's not unusual for us to pinpoint the source," said the CDC's Greg Wallace, team lead on measles, mumps and rubella. "What makes this more challenging is all the travel that happens. They are not just in one place as most of our outbreaks are."
As the Chicago Tribune noted, there were only 584 cases of mumps reported last year around the U.S. So this NHL outbreak, while not unprecedented, is pretty weird.