Spanish health authorities have confirmed the transmission of dengue fever through sexual relations between two men, in a global precedent since it was considered so far that the disease is transmitted through mosquito bites.
In an email to AFP, the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the Spanish case is "according to our information the first transmission of dengue infection through sexual contact between two men."
"It has been a possible case of sexually transmitted infection between a man and a woman who has been the subject of a (scientific) article in South Korea in the past," stressed Spanish doctor Susana Jimenez, an epidemiologist from the Madrid Public Health Directorate.
The diagnosed case in Madrid "is for a 41-year-old man who contracted the virus during a relationship with his partner who was infected during a visit to Cuba" where he may have been bitten by mosquitoes, Jimenez said.
The man, who was confirmed at the end of last September, was puzzled by scientists because he had not traveled to a country where dengue fever is widespread. It was confirmed that he could not have a mosquito bite in Spain.
"His partner suffered the same symptoms but was less severe ten days ago and had previously traveled to Cuba and the Dominican Republic," she said. The tests showed Monday dengue fever.
"The analysis of their sperm confirmed that it was a dengue virus and that it was the same in Cuba."
"This is very important information as we have discovered a new mechanism of transmission," she said, noting that sexual transmission in countries with dengue fever cannot be ruled out.
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