Chikungunya, or “chik-v, virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can cause fevers, joint and muscle pain, headaches, joint swelling and rashes. At the World Cup in Brazil, one mosquito species is a carrier of the virus.
Fears are that after the World Cup, travelers returning back may bring home with them mosquitos carrying the virus. As a result, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is requesting that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issue a health alert in New York and around the country.
Sen. Schumer has also called on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to increase border safeguards like the inspection of imported food products coming from Brazil.
In New York, there have already been three confirmed cases. Fourteen other states have also been impacted, including Florida with 25 cases.
In the Caribbean, more than 100,000 individuals have been affected by Chikungunya.
While the virus is rarely fatal, it can be extremely painful. There is also no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat such a virus infection.
Without proper measures of precaution, fears are those returning from the World Cup may speed up the global spread.
The best protection against Chikungunya is to prevent mosquito bites, according to the CDC. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to limit contact with mosquitos.