Clinical features of rabies patients with abnormal sexual behaviors as the presenting manifestations: a case report and literature review

Zhaoxing Tian, Yingyu Chen, Wei Yan
BMC Infectious Diseases 2019 August 1, 19 (1): 679

BACKGROUND: Abnormal sexual behaviors presenting as manifestations of rabies have occasionally been reported in the literature, although little attention has been paid to these cases to date. This study aimed to analyze the clinical features of rabies cases with abnormal sexual behaviors as the presenting manifestations.

CASE PRESENTATION: A case of 32-year-old man with frequent ejaculation as the initial symptom of rabies was first reported. Then, a literature review was conducted using databases including CNKI, SinoMed, VIP, Wanfang Data, ScienceDirect, ProQuest, OVID and PubMed. In addition to our case, 54 other rabies cases, with abnormal sexual behaviors as the presenting manifestations, have been reported since 1970. Among the 55 cases, 51 were male and three were female (unknown gender for one case), with ages ranging from 6 to 71 years. All cases were reported in developing countries, 46 in China. Dog bites were the major source of infection, and extremities were the main exposure sites. Overall, 46 (83.6%) cases had abnormal sexual behaviors as the initial symptoms. The major presenting manifestations were priapism and ejaculation in males and hypersexuality in females. All cases were clinically diagnosed based on medical history and clinical manifestations. Given no standardized post-exposure prophylaxis, all cases died with the survival time being between 1 and 15 days.

CONCLUSIONS: The rabies patients with abnormal sexual behaviors have unique clinical features. To avoid misdiagnosis, unexplained abnormal sexual behaviors should raise clinical suspicion of rabies.

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