Dengue fever is a disease that was thought to only be spreadable by mosquitoes. Having said that, when I heard that the first case of sexually transmitted dengue was reported in Spain, my first thought was – what kind of weird stuff are people from Spain doing with mosquitoes?
I assume you are more intelligent than myself and that such a thought never crossed your mind, but you have to admit the whole concept sounds strange. Luckily for me, the reporters at TheTelegraph UK released the details of how it actually took place, so I am able to tell you the facts without having to fill in any blanks with my overactive imagination.
How it happened
Thankfully the details of the incident make a lot more sense than what I thought took place and no nonconsenting mosquitoes were involved. A man from Madrid contracted dengue from a mosquito bite during his trip to Cuba, which isn’t very unusual considering dengue fever affects over 100 million people per year. His partner however, was not on the trip with him, but he started showing similar symptoms about a week and a half later. Human to human transmission of dengue was not thought to be possible without an infected mosquito being used as a vector, but an analysis of the couple’s sperm showed that the men both had the exact same dengue virus strain that circulates in Cuba, and that it was more than likely transmitted from one to the other through sexual intercourse. A recent scientific article in South Korea highlighted a ‘likely’ case of sexually transmitted dengue between a man and a woman according to Susana Jimenez of the Madrid region’s public health department.
More about dengue
Like I mentioned earlier, Dengue fever affects around 100 million people per year with about 10,000 of those cases resulting in death. It’s also known as break-bone fever because of the nerve pain it causes and is usually accompanied with high fever and vomiting. Death only occurs in extreme cases, but even mild cases of the disease are not pleasant, so we’re hoping for a quick recovery for the Spanish couple in this story. There is no known cure and the current vaccine is only effective on people who have previously been infected with dengue.
Where the disease is found
Dengue is most common in hotter climates such as South East Asia, Africa, Australia, and South and Central America. But with the recent outbreaks in Florida and the rising number of cases in other regions of the world, researchers believe that the disease will spread across much of the globe and threaten 60% of the world’s population by 2080.
The disease is treatable in most cases, but there is no specific cure, so prevention is important. Be sure to use safe nontoxic insect repellent or a repulsion device such as a wearable patch on your clothing while you are outdoors (especially when traveling).
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