Diagnosed in Madrid, one of the first cases of sexual transmission of dengue in the world

When in the Hospital Ramón y Cajal came to the conclusion that they were before the first case of dengue fever by sexual transmission described in Spain, they sent samples to the National Centre of Microbiology Carlos III Health Institute, with the laboratory of arboviruses of reference in Spain. Its director, María Paz Sánchez-Seco, was a charge of analyzing the case.

Question. why is it so rare a case of sexual transmission of dengue fever?

Response. dengue fever is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito; this is the normal way. The sex is another way that opens a door of investigation. If you had not seen until now, beyond a case that was described as likely, it is usually because the virus circulating in areas where the disease is endemic, full of mosquito vectors. And it is impossible to distinguish whether the transmission was by them or by any other means. There will surely be more cases that have gone unnoticed, but it is still very unlikely.

Q. How do you know that occurred through sexual transmission?

A. The virus have an incubation period. The index patient acquired it outside, on a trip to Cuba, but the other was in Madrid during that entire period, so I had to become infected here. In addition, there is an active surveillance of mosquitoes: Aedes albopictus is present in Spain but not in Madrid. When detected the case, the services of the Community sought for if there could be in the vicinity of where he lived the infected person, where it was moved, and not found. In addition, there are laboratory data: we have found traces of the RNA (genetic material) of the virus in the semen of the patient.

Q. what, Then, are 100% sure that the transmission was sexual?

A. you can Never be 100% sure, but it is highly likely, the lab tests so indicate, and there is no other plausible explanation.

Q. has described sexual transmission of the virus zika and it is not uncommon to be confused, could it not be a case of zika?

A. Effectively, you know the sexual transmission of zika, who is from the same family as the dengue fever. This makes us see that it is not so far-fetched: we know that there are similar viruses that can be transmitted by this route. But it is totally out of the question that is zika. Symptoms can be confused, by the pictures of fever; also in some lab tests to do based diagnostic tools serology. But here we talk about other things: the RNA and the genetic sequence tells us that it is dengue. What is more, in the two patients, the sequences are identical and equal to the strains circulating in Cuba that we have seen in some other traveller infected in this country, what that indicates to us that there is the origin.


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