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National Hockey League Players Hit by Mumps

FILE - Players and fans alike know the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby is a tough player to stop — but the mumps did it.

The mumps has infected more than a dozen National Hockey League players in recent weeks, and more of them are being tested for the virus, which can cause facial swelling, fatigue, loss of appetite and muscle aches.

On Monday, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby became the 13 NHL player since November to come down with the highly contagious virus that infects the salivary glands.

Three Anaheim Ducks players were the first confirmed cases of the mumps in this NHL outbreak.

The virus has since spread to the Minnesota Wild, the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mumps is spread through saliva or mucus, usually from coughing, sneezing or even talking.

Dr. Judith Aberg, chief of the infectious diseases department at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, told Reuters that the NHL mumps outbreak should be starting to run its course.

Aberg said the mumps vaccine takes two to four weeks to have its maximum effect.

Dr. Debra Spicehandler, co-chief of infectious diseases at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York, agreed that the outbreak has likely peaked.

But according to Spicehandler, it will take at least a couple of weeks before it is known whether the NHL is mumps-free because the incubation period of the virus can be that long.