Scientists claim mosquito-borne virus, Dengue fever causes spontaneous erections that may persist for hours

Symptoms of Dengue fever

Scientists claim mosquito-borne virus, Dengue fever causes spontaneous erections that may persist for hours

A mosquito-borne viral disease occurring in tropical and subtropical areas.

Those who become infected with the virus a second time are at a significantly greater risk of developing severe disease.

As if having Dengue fever wasn’t already hard enough, doctors in West Africa are reporting that the mosquito-borne virus often associated with rashes, vomiting and internal bleeding could also be causing spontaneous erections that can persist for hours.

The theory is based on the story of a 17-year-old dengue patient in Burkina Faso who exhibited the embarrassing side effect, per a study published in “Urology Case Reports.”

According to the study, the teen had been hospitalized with kidney damage and acute ischemia — the suppression of blood flow to a certain area — stemming from his condition.

Symptoms of Dengue fever
Symptoms of Dengue fever

An engorged mosquito.
Dengue fever is a mosquito borne disease that can cause symptoms ranging from fever to internal bleeding.

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Doctors observed that he had a “soft” erection which had developed spontaneously sans any “sexual stimulation” — lasting for a whopping 18 hours.

The case marked the first time this association had been documented in literature.

The pros-in-the-know attributed the symptom known as arterial priapism to the virus. infecting blood vessels in the penis. This caused plasma to leak into the organ, making his manhood appear larger when flaccid.

Thankfully, doctors were able to treat the patient’s condition with an ice pack, causing the blood vessels to constrict, which reduced the member back to its normal size within 48 hours.

The initial viral infection, meanwhile, was remedied with antiviral medications. At followup appointments three and six months later, doctors observed that the teen was healthy and able to achieve normal erections sans any issues.

A dengue patient in Brazil.
A patient is transferred to a hospital after receiving medical care at an improvised military aid station set up to treat suspected cases of dengue fever in the administrative region of Ceilandia, on the outskirts of Brasilia, Brazil on February 6, 2024.

While this symptom might seem like a one-off, experts believe that dengue can indeed prompt priapism.

‘Viruses have been linked with priapism in the past including Covid, mumps and even rabies,” Dr Richard Murphy, who advised Doctors Without Borders in Africa for seven years, told the Daily Mail. “So, it is possible that other viruses are associated with it.”

In 2021, a US COVID-19 patient experienced a three-hour erection, which doctors believed was caused by a coronavirus-induced blood clot in his penis.

The mosquito-transmitted virus is also known as “breakbone fever” for the fever, muscle aches, and joint pains associated with it.

While the common symptoms include

Muscle, bone or joint pain.
Pain behind the eyes.
Swollen glands.

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In the grand scheme of things, spontaneous erections shrink in comparison to other Dengue fever complications, which range from internal hemorrhaging to organ failure and death.

According to a World Health Organization report from 2023, Dengue rates are skyrocketing worldwide with “reported cases since 2000 up eight-fold to 4.2 million in 2022.”

And the scourge isn’t limited to other countries. Dengue has reared its head in the US with cases reported everywhere from Texas to California and Hawaii.

This past summer, Florida officials issued a health alert following a rise in cases of the disease — which infected at least 11 people across the Panhandle last year.


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