One player with the flu getting a whole clubhouse full of players sick is pretty common in baseball, but the Royals have taken that to another level. Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star writes that the Royals’ have a chicken pox outbreak and at least two players–outfielder Alex Rios and reliever Kelvin Herrera–are infected.
Chicken pox can be very dangerous for adults, so Rios and Herrera are expected to be out of action (and quarantined) for up to two weeks. McCullough reports that other Royals players and coaches are contacting their families to double-check if they already had chicken pox as kids, because symptoms often don’t reveal themselves for several weeks.
Team officials are expected to address the situation before Tuesday’s game against the Tigers. The Royals believe the infections are limited to only Herrera and Rios. The most at-risk players are those from countries in Latin America, where the chances of childhood inoculation are lower, experts say.
… The chickenpox virus spreads through the air or through bodily contact. The symptoms are well-known to parents, as itchy blisters overrun the skin and the body grapples with fatigue and fever. Chickenpox manifests in the same way for grown-ups, only patients suffer more and face complications such as pneumonia and brain infections, experts say.
Rios’ infection helps explain why the Royals went out and traded for another right-handed-hitting corner outfielder, Jonny Gomes of the Braves, prior to Monday night’s playoff eligibility deadline. Luckily for the Royals they’ve all but clinched the AL Central title already, but if other players are revealed as infected closer to the start of the playoffs it could be a major issue.