Persistence and clinical relevance of Zika virus in the male genital tract

Nat Rev Urol. 2019 Apr;16(4):211-230. doi: 10.1038/s41585-019-0149-7.


Zika virus (ZIKV) is a re-emerging mosquito-transmitted flavivirus associated with congenital abnormalities in newborns and with Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults. The virus can also be sexually transmitted and can persist in the male genital tract. Studies evaluating the kinetics of ZIKV in seminal shedding of men who have been infected, as well as in animal and cellular models of infection, have shown that, in addition to the testis and epididymis, the prostate and seminal vesicles could also be involved in persistent ZIKV infection. Additionally, some studies have reported that men infected with ZIKV can present with genitourinary symptoms such as haematospermia, prostatitis, painful ejaculation, penile discharge, and oligospermia; however, little is known about the effect of ZIKV on fertility. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie persistent ZIKV infections in men is crucial to developing guidelines, effective vaccines, and therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Transmission, Infectious
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Male / diagnosis
  • Genital Diseases, Male / virology
  • Genitalia, Male / virology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Semen / virology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral / transmission
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral / virology
  • Zika Virus / isolation & purification*
  • Zika Virus Infection / diagnosis*
  • Zika Virus Infection / transmission