U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to warn medical professionals in New York and around the nation to identify, treat, and contain any cases of suspected chikungunya — "chik-v" virus — brought into the U.S. by returning World Cup soccer fans.
One of the mosquito species known to carry and spread the virus — which causes fevers, joint, and muscle pain, headaches, joint swelling, and rashes — is prevalent in Brazil.
"We have to prevent the spread of this virus before it reaches the United States in large numbers," Schumer told reporters on Sunday, CBS News
"The problem here is the World Cup gives the unfortunate opportunity for the virus to spread among people from all nations of the world who are together."
The virus is rarely fatal, but it can create arthritic-like joint pain that become chronic.
Schumer said three confirmed cases of the virus have been diagnosed in New York and 25 in Florida, and numbers could increase dramatically with the return of soccer fans from the World Cup.
So far, all of the infected Americans have contracted the virus in parts of the world where it is common.
Last year, the virus was found for the first time on the Caribbean islands, where more than 100,000 people have been sickened.