A case of sexual transmission of dengue between two men was confirmed Friday by the Spanish health authorities, a first in the world where it is considered that the virus is transmitted by mosquito bite.
In an email to AFP, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control confirmed that this Spanish case was "to his knowledge, the first case of sexual transmission of dengue virus between two men".
"A case of probable sexual transmission between a woman and a man had previously been the subject of a (scientific) article in South Korea"said Spanish medical epidemiologist Susana Jimenez, of the General Directorate of Public Health of the Madrid region.
The case diagnosed in Madrid is "That of a 41 year old man contaminated during a relationship with his companion, who had contracted the virus during a trip to Cuba"where he was stung by a mosquito, told AFP Ms. Jimenez.
"A discovery of global importance"
The contamination of this man, confirmed in late September, intrigued scientists because he had not traveled to a country where dengue fever is endemic. The impossibility of mosquito contamination in Spain was also verified, as no mosquitoes were found in the places where they were.
"His companion had the same symptoms as him, but lighter, about ten days earlier and had previously traveled to Cuba and the Dominican Republic," recounted the doctor. The tests then revealed that both had dengue fever.
"An analysis of their semen was done and it revealed that not only was dengue fever but it was exactly the same virus that circulates in Cuba", says Ms. Jimenez. "It's a discovery, an information of global importance: discover another mechanism of transmission of the virus"she admitted.
In countries where dengue fever is endemic and where there are mosquitoes that transmit it by biting, "we can not say that the mode of sexual transmission does not exist, simply, until now, it is not considered because we always thought: + It is the mosquito +"she concluded.
The World Health Organization writes on its website that "dengue is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito carrying one of the four dengue viruses".