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Joel Peralta, a pitcher with the Tampa Bay Rays, became infected with chikungunya while visiting the Dominican Republic during the All-Star break last month.

Joel Peralta, a pitcher with the Tampa Bay Rays, became infected with chikungunya while visiting the Dominican Republic during the All-Star break last month.

Keith Allison/Flickr/Creative Commons

Will chikungunya disrupt Major League Baseball?

Now that four cases of “locally acquired" chikungunya virus have surfaced in the United States—all in Florida—concerns are rising about how far and wide this mosquito-borne disease will spread. An article published online today in The Journal of the American Medical Association argues that it won’t spread as rapidly as it has in the Caribbean—400,000 people and rapidly spreading—because U.S. residents spend less time outdoors and more people have screened doors and windows as well as air conditioning. Yet an article posted on an ESPN blog today explores how it might affect Major League Baseball, which recruits many players from the Caribbean. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases—which is supporting research into a chikungunya vaccine—discusses the disease, which causes debilitating joint pain, in this video.

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