Spanish health authorities confirmed on Friday the case of a man spreading dengue fever through sex, the world's first for a virus that until recently was transmitted only by mosquitoes.
The case concerns a 41-year-old man from Madrid who contracted dengue fever after having sex with his partner who caught the mosquito bite virus during a trip to Cuba, said Susana Jimenez of the area's public health department. Madrid.
The dengue infection was confirmed in September and puzzled doctors because he had not traveled to a country where the disease, which causes severe flu symptoms such as high fever and body aches, is common, he added.
"His partner had the same symptoms as him, but lighter about ten days earlier, and he had already visited Cuba and the Dominican Republic," said Jimenez.
"An analysis of their sperm was performed and revealed that they not only had dengue but that it was exactly the same virus that circulates in Cuba."
A "probable" case of sexual transmission of dengue between a man and a woman has been the subject of a recent scientific paper in South Korea, Jimenez said.
In an e-mail to AFP, the Stockholm-based European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which monitors health and disease in Europe, said this was "to our knowledge, the first sexual transmission of the virus." dengue fever among men. who have sex with men ".
According to the World Health Organization's website, dengue is transmitted mainly by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which lives in densely populated tropical climates and breeds in stagnant pools of water.
It is more serious – and deadly – in children, especially girls, although scientists do not know why.
Dengue is most commonly caught by people traveling to warmer climates such as Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia, the Caribbean, and South and Central America.