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Chronic fatigue syndrome and increased susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections and illnesses

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By Andrew P. Smith & Marie A. Thomas
 
Abstract
 
Background: Previous research has suggested that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients report more upper respiratory tract illnesses (URTIs) than controls. 
 
Aims: The present study aimed to replicate and extend this research. 
 
Method: A prospective study of the incidence of URTIs was conducted. This was similar to previous work involving diary studies but also included objective measures of illness severity (e.g. nasal secretion; sub-lingual temperature) and infection (virus isolation from nasal swabs and antibody changes). Fifty-seven patients with CFS, diagnosed according to the 1994 CDC criteria, were recruited randomly from a volunteer panel compiled of patients who had attended the Cardiff CFS outpatient clinic. A further 57 individuals without CFS were recruited from a general population research panel. 
 
Results: The results confirmed that CFS patients report more upper respiratory virus infections and the virological results showed that this was not due to a reporting bias but reflected greater susceptibility to infection.
 
Conclusions: This increased susceptibility to infection in the CFS group can account for the increased reporting of URTIs found in this and previous studies.
 
Source: Andrew P. Smith & Marie A. Thomas. Chronic fatigue syndrome and increased susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections and illnesses. Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior. Published online: 27 Apr 2015

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