Teams in Brazil are training and playing with loads of insect repellant as dengue fever spreads through the country.
Peruvian player Paolo Guerrero has already been struck with the disease, a usually non-fatal bug that is very painful and takes two weeks to work through the body.
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The fever is working its way through Brazil at the rate of 5,000 new cases per day, and has struck close to a half-million people this year.
In addition to Guerrero, Palmeiras reserve goalkeeper Aranha and young Santos striker Leo Cittadini also have been diagnosed with the disease and won’t be able to help their teams in the final stages of the Sao Paulo state championship this month.
“We have to find a way to stay away from this little mosquito,” Palmeiras midfielder Arouca said.
The players affected will need about two weeks to fully recover from the disease, which causes extreme joint pain and headaches. There is no cure, but is rarely fatal.
Corinthians has important Copa Libertadores matches ahead in addition to its league play. At least one player has been able to capture the seriousness of the sickness with a side bit of dark humor:
“We are afraid, of course,” said Corinthians player Renato Augusto. “It turns out it’s not only the defenders we have to worry about these days.”