A 23-year-old man was left unable to get an erection after he was scratched by a cat, a bizarre case study has revealed.
The unidentified patient, from Belgium, was injured by the claws of a feline in his own home - but it is unknown how.
As well as the inability to make love, he endured pain in his testicles, a fever and intense sweating at night before visiting hospital.
Doctors discovered he had 'cat-scratch disease' after various tests. It is caused by a bacteria called Bartonella henselae found in the mouth and claws of cats.
It causes fever, fatigue, headaches, and swollen lymph nodes. In extreme cases it can even cause deadly brain swelling and heart infections.
A course of antibiotics cleared up the infection and the man's erection returned.
The unidentified patient, from Belgium, was injured by the claws of a feline in his own home - but it is unknown how
Why did it cause erectile dysfunction?
The infection's link to erectile dysfunction has been relatively scarce until the new case, revealed by doctors in BMJ Case Reports.
They were unable to state how the bug caused his loss in erection ability, however, pointed to previous cases that triggered facial paralysis.
They said this same biological mechanism could have triggered his erectile dysfunction and testicular pain.
On further questioning, it was confirmed that the patient was recently scratched by a young cat at home, experts wrote.
Doctors at the Clinique Saint-Pierre Ottignies, an 40 minutes south of Brussels, gave the patient a course of antibiotics for three weeks.
'The symptoms quickly vanished and he fully regained his erectile function,' the team of medics said in the journal.
'In this case the patient was unable to provoke erection despite his will even during periods of calm symptoms.'