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JAMAICA | MOH warns of a more severe strain of Dengue - Sexually transmitted dengue case confirmed in Spain

  • Written by  Harriet Alexander - AFC
  • Published in Health
The Aedes aegypti mosquito which spreads the Dengue virus The Aedes aegypti mosquito which spreads the Dengue virus
MADRID, Spain, November 9, 2019 - Director of the National Vector Control Programme, Sherine Huntley-Jones, is warning Jamaicans that  persons who have already contracted  dengue fever, are more susceptible to the more severe type of the mosquito-borne virus present in the island.

She told Radio Jamaica in an interview, that "because our population at large has been exposed to more than one type, going forward we are going to see an increase in the number of persons who are going to be hospitalised, and unfortunately... that may end up dying."

She said more persons with dengue are being hospitalized and that there has already been an increase in dengue-related deaths. According to  the Ministry of Health, so far this year,  more than 5,400 cases of dengue had been reported in Jamaica .

Mrs. Huntley Jones said some persons took too long to seek medical attention, and urge those who experience dengue-like symptoms to immediately seek medical attention.

Dengue is transmitted mainly by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which thrives in densely-populated tropical climates and breeds in stagnant pools of water. It kills 10,000 people a year and infects over 100 million.

The disease is fatal in some cases and the symptoms are extremely unpleasant. They include a high fever, severe headaches and vomiting.

Dengue is most commonly caught by people travelling to hotter climates such as South East Asia, Africa, Australia, the Caribbean and South and Central America.

Prevention is vital, as it is the main way to control disease – there are four strains of dengue, making it difficult to develop treatment options.

There is currently no specific drug to cure dengue and Dengvaxia, the first vaccine developed, is effective only in people who have already had the disease.

In the meantime, Spanish health authorities have confirmed the case of a man spreading dengue through sex, a world first for a virus which until recently was thought to be transmitted only by mosquitoes.

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

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.

"His partner presented the same symptoms as him but lighter around ten days earlier, and he had previously visited Cuba and the Dominican Republic," she said.

"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."

A "likely' case of sexual transmission of dengue between a man and a woman was the subject of a recent scientific article in South Korea, she said.

In an e-mail sent to AFP, the Stockholm-based European Centre 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 dengue virus among men who have sex with men."

Last modified onMonday, 11 November 2019 13:39
  • Countries: United_States

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