It has been well documented that Zika virus (ZIKV) can be sexually transmitted. Dengue virus (DENV) shows many similarities with ZIKV; both belong to the genus Flavivirus and share the same main vector route of transmission. Moreover, they share overall architectural features on a molecular level, with a highly similar structure and distinctive insertions, deletions and mutations of their respective E proteins, and it has been suggested that they use a common pathophysiological pathway. In view of similarities with other sexually transmissible viruses, the question arises as to whether DENV could also be sexually transmissible. Limited animal model data do not suggest otherwise. The presence of dengue virus in – and human-to-human, non-vector transmission from – various bodily fluids other than semen or vaginal secretions has been documented anecdotally. Several anecdotal reports described prolonged presence of DENV in semen, urine and vaginal secretions. In 2019, two cases of likely sexual transmission were reported from Spain and South Korea, respectively. We discuss the evidence for and against a relevant DENV sexual transmission potential, highlight controversies and propose a future research agenda on this issue.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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