Detroit Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez battled the Zika virus before the MLB season.

A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Rodriguez contracted the virus this past off-season in his home country.

The 34-year-old was confined to his bed for two weeks with joint pain, head-and-body aches, and a host of other symptoms.

"It wasn't a cold. A cold you have a sneeze, have a headache, take a couple Tylenol, and you're done," Rodriguez told ESPN.

"You don't have a cold for two weeks, you don't have a bodyache for two weeks, you don't have headaches, throwing up, weaknesses for two weeks."

Rising concerns about the Zika virus are tempting athletes, and even entire countries, to skip the Rio Olympics despite organiser assurances that all measures will be taken to avoid any health issues.

Still, United States goalkeeper Hope Solo and Spanish basketball star Pau Gasol are some of the high-profile athletes who have voiced their concern for the threat of the virus.

"I wouldn't blame them," Rodriguez said of any athletes having second thoughts about traveling to Brazil.

"If they have plans to have kids in the future, you've got to think about it. You have to be aware of that as well. You have to do some homework, some research about it.

"It's something people have to be careful with and worry about, there's no vaccine for it. It's not like you take a shot and [improve]. It could be global."

Zika has been linked to birth defects in thousands of newborns across South America.

The medical scare has not affected Rodriguez on the field; he owns 14 saves and a 3.86 ERA in his first season with the Tigers.

A 15-year MLB veteran, he recently became the sixth pitcher in history to record 400 saves.