Americans who travelled to witness the 2014 World Cup in Brazil may bring home more than just memories of seeing their favorite teams in action and the landscape of the games' host country. A U.S. senator said that there is also a possibility that soccer fans may bring with them a mosquito-borne virus that is prevalent in Brazil.

On Sunday, Senator Charles Schumer said that World Cup travelers could be infected with Chik-V and urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a health alert for doctors for identifying, treating and containing the virus.

"Visitors could return home to their countries with memorabilia, photographs, great stories to tell and perhaps a very painful virus," Schumer said. "The World Cup will serve as an incubator for this virus to spread."

Chik-V, or Chikungunya, is a virus that is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes just as with dengue. Although the virus is not deadly, infection causes symptoms that can last for years. The disease is characterized by joint pain and inflammation, fever, muscle pain and rash. The joint pains in extremities can last for up to two years in some cases depending on the patient's age. Recovery depends on the patient's age as well with young patients recovering faster within 15 days. Middle aged-patients recover between one and two and a half months and longer for the elderly.

To date, no vaccine and medicines are available for preventing and treating Chik-V infection. The only means to get protected from the virus is to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes when traveling to countries where the virus is prevalent.

Schumer said that it is necessary that the virus is prevented before it gets to the U.S. in large number pointing out that the World Cup gives the opportunity for the virus to spread as people from different nations come together.

The senator said that there have been 25 individuals in Florida and three in New York who have contracted the virus albeit from other parts of the world and the number of those infected could increase once soccer fans return from the World Cup.

Schumer has likewise asked the Department of Homeland Security for an issuance of a public emergency which could mean that inspections in U.S. ports of entry would increase and the food products brought home by travelers from Brazil will be subjected to more stringent scans.

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