Mumps is extremely contagious, according to the Center for Disease Control. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite, as well as swelling of salivary glands.
The illness was a topic of discussion as the Devils visited Nassau Coliseum on Monday and word spread that Penguins forward Beau Bennett could be the latest player to catch mumps. Ranger forward Derick Brassard was confirmed to have mumps on Sunday. (Update: The AP reported Tuesday the Islanders have postponed their annual holiday trips to local hospitals as a precautionary measure).
"I've never heard of anything like this happening before," Casey Cizikas said, when asked about the mumps epidemic in the league. "Our training staff did a good job of getting our vaccinations and making sure our team was OK right when it started happening."
The Islanders were in Anaheim in late October when the mumps outbreak first began. The Anaheim Ducks were one of the first team's to be impacted by the disease.
"It's a pretty unique situation how it's take over a dozen guys now," Islander Head Coach Jack Capuano said. "No rhyme or reason for it."
The Devils, who the Islanders beat 3-2 in the shootout, have had two diagnosed cases of the mumps on their roster. Both Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson both came down with the disease.
Despite that, Cizikas said there was no added worry in the Isles locker room.
"It's another night, it's another game and we just have to come with the same mindset," he said. "It's tough when guys have it, but we just have to make sure it doesn't get in our locker room."
Zajac was back in the Devils lineup for their loss to the Islanders.
"The word 'mumps,' I haven't heard in 10 years," Devils bench boss Pete DeBour said. "The fact that it's spreading around -- I think the last count was 16 or 17 guys in the league and we've got two of them -- it's tough. Most of the guys that have gotten it are sidelined for at least a couple of weeks.
"This is a tough time of year to be missing people."