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Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disabling disease of unknown etiology. A variety of factors have been suggested as possible causes.
Although the symptoms and clinical findings are heterogeneous,
The syndrome is sufficiently distinct, at least in relation to the more obvious cases, that a common explanation seems likely.
In this paper, it is proposed that the disease is caused by a ubiquitous, but normally benign virus, for example, one of the circoviruses.
Circoviruses are chronically present in a majority of people, but are rarely tested for diagnostically.
Normally these viruses do not penetrate the blood-brain barrier,
But exceptions have been reported,
And related viruses cause disease in the central nervous system of animals.
The flu-like illness that often precedes the onset of CFS may either:
Suppress immune function, causing an increased viremia,
And/or lower the blood-brain barrier.
In both cases the result may be that a virus already present in the blood enters the brain.
It is well known that zoonotic viruses typically are more malignant than viruses with a long history of host-virus evolution. [Zoonotic viruses are those that are transmitted between animals and humans.] Similarly, a virus reaching an unfamiliar organ may cause particular problems.
Source: Medical Hypotheses, August 2008. 71(2)270-274 Grinde B. National Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway. [E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]