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Viral serologies in patients with chronic fatigue & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

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By Buchwald D, Ashley RL, Pearlman T, Kith P, Komaroff AL • www.ProHealth.com • September 6, 1996


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness characterized by
disabling fatigue associated with complaints of fevers, sore
throat, myalgia, lymphadenopathy, sleep disturbances,
neurocognitive difficulties, and depression. A striking
feature of CFS is its sudden onset following an acute,
presumably viral, illness and the subsequent recurrent
"flu-like" symptoms. It has been speculated that both CFS and
debilitating chronic fatigue (CF) that does not meet strict
criteria for CFS may be the direct or indirect result of
viral infections. We therefore tested 548 chronically
fatigued patients who underwent a comprehensive medical and
psychiatric evaluation for antibodies to 13 viruses. Our
objectives were to compare the seroprevalence and/or
geometric mean titer (GMT) of antibodies to herpes simplex
virus 1 and 2, rubella, adenovirus, human herpesvirus 6,
Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and Cox-sackie B virus,
types 1-6 in patients with CF to healthy control subjects.

Other goals were to determine if greater rates of
seropositivity or higher GMTs occurred among subsets of
patients with CFS, fibromyalgia, psychiatric disorders, a
self-reported illness onset with a viral syndrome, and a
documented temperature > 37 degrees C on physical
examination. Differences in the seroprevalence or GMTs of
antibodies to 13 viruses were not consistently found in those
with CF compared with control subjects, or in any subsets of
patients including those with CFS, an acute onset of illness,
or a documented fever. These particular viral serologies were
not useful in evaluating patients presenting with CF.




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