The Kansas City Royals have been gripped by an outbreak. It's not a deadly disease from a movie or a bad case of athlete's foot -- it's chickenpox. Pitcher Kelvin Herrera and outfielder Alex Rios came down with the virus over the weekend and both are expected to miss two weeks.
Meanwhile players and manager Ned Yost are calling home to find out whether they had the viral infection. It sounds funny, but the Royals are taking this very seriously according to The Kansas City Star:
The team spent the weekend conducting "damage control," in the words of trainer Nick Kenney, making sure the rest of their players and staffers are inoculated against the virus.
"We're on alert," Kenney said. "We've got our guys knowing that they've got to pay attention to what they're seeing. And if you do see anything, we need to see it and we need to inspect it."
Hockey had a mumps outbreak a year ago, now baseball has been struck with chickenpox. General manager Dayton Moore is surprised by the whole thing.
"My initial reaction was ‘It's 2015,'" Moore said. "I was surprised that we'd be having the chickenpox. I'm sure it's more common than I'm aware of as far as adults getting chickenpox. But it was more frustration than anything else."
Believe it or not, chickenpox is actually considered a "rare" virus in 2015. There are only between 20,000 and 200,000 cases a year according to Google, compared to the 4 million in the early 1990's prior to chickenpox vaccination.
Essentially the Royals are dealing with a ticking time bomb waiting to see if their roster gets ravaged by the skin disease. Right now only Herrera and Rios have shown signs of having chickenpox.
"Every day that passes by, you feel a little more secure that we're going to be OK," Moore said.
The outbreak is no joke, but it could be worse. The Royals are currently 12 games ahead in the AL Central standings, and not even a virus can stop them.