Researchers from the National Institute for Infectious Diseases ‘Lazzaro Spallanzani’, IRCCS, Rome, Italy highlight the possibility of sexual transmission of dengue virus in a man returning from Thailand to Italy where Dengue virus RNA was persistently detected in semen samples up to 37 days post-symptom onset, in a recent study in the journal Eurosurveillance.
According to the abstract: This study reports the presence of dengue virus RNA in longitudinally collected semen samples of a previously healthy Caucasian man, returning to Italy from Thailand with primary dengue fever, up to 37 days post-symptom onset, when viraemia and viruria were undetectable. This finding, coupled with the evidence of dengue virus negative-strand RNA, an indirect marker of ongoing viral replication, in the cellular fraction of semen, indicates a need to further investigate possible sexual transmission.
Researchers say the findings highlight the possibility of sexual transmission of DENV that could play a role in the spreading of infection in non-endemic areas. However, no such events have been reported to date despite that fact that in 2016 alone, 2,601 travel-associated dengue cases were reported to The European Surveillance System (TESSy) at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Further studies are warranted, in order to quantify and clarify the implications of genital shedding of DENV for non-vector sexual transmission.
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