By Betheena Unite
Spreading of dengue through sexual intercourse is not a cause for concern for the Department of Health as it has “very small chances” in the Philippines, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Monday.
The secretary made the statement following a reported dengue case concerning a man who contracted the disease through sexual transmission.
“It’s not (a cause for concern) at this point,” Duque told reporters. “I will not be concerned that there can be epidemic via that route because there already is with mosquitoes.”
Duque emphasized that the chances of spreading dengue through sexual transmission is very low, saying “the chances of its spreading via that route are very low. Your problem is dengue, which is endemic in the Philippines.”
“Sa dengue, masyadong maliit yung chances (In dengue, there is a very low chances). Very small to warrant a draconian measure,” the secretary stressed.
The case involved a 41-year-old man from Madrid who reportedly contracted dengue after a sexual intercourse with his male partner. According to Madrid region’s public health department, the male partner picked up the virus during his trip to Cuba.
The dengue infection was confirmed in September after he showed symptoms such as high fever and body pain.
Duque, however, shifted his concern over the spread of more HIV/Aids cases through unprotected sexual activities, calling the case in Spain an “incidental case.”
“I would be worried for lack of protection primarily because we don’t want any more HIV/ AIDS cases as much as possible. So incidental lang iyong isa to the main issue of unprotected sex. It’s a collateral issue,” Duque said.
“Your immediate concern is how to reduce the burden of HIV/Aids as a sexually transmitted disease,” he added.
The health secretary also noted that the reported dengue case through sexual transmission in Spain is actually the second case of its kind in the world. The first case, he said, was purportedly recorded in Korea.
“It’s not the first. Purportedly there’s the Korean case, a 32-year-old male who contracted dengue virus from a female partner who visited Indonesia and developed dengue after her stay in Indonesia. She went back to Korea then she developed the symptoms of dengue,” Duque said, adding that information on both cases is still insufficient.