Spain confirms first case of dengue being spread by sex

Add dengue to the list of sexually transmitted infections.

Spanish health authorities on Friday confirmed a case of a man spreading dengue through sex. This is the first for a virus which, until recently, was thought to be transmitted only by mosquitoes.

According to media reports, the case concerns a 41-year-old man from Madrid who contracted dengue after having sex with his male partner. Susana Jimenez of the Madrid region’s public health department said the partner reportedly picked up the virus from a mosquito bite during a trip to Cuba.

His dengue infection was confirmed in September and it puzzled doctors because he had not travelled to a country where the disease, which causes severe flu-like symptoms such as high fever and body aches, is common, she added.

“An analysis of their sperm was carried out and it revealed that not only did they have dengue but that it was exactly the same virus which circulates in Cuba,” she said.

The Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which monitors health and disease in Europe, said this was “to our knowledge, the first sexual transmission of the dengue virus among men who have sex with men”.