Concurrent sick building syndrome & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): epidemic neuromyasthenia revisited

Sick building syndrome (SBS) is usually characterized by upper

respiratory complaints, headache, and mild fatigue. Chronic

fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness with defined criteria

including extreme fatigue, sore throat, headache, and

neurological symptoms. We investigated three apparent

outbreaks of SBS and observed another more serious illness (or

illnesses), characterized predominantly by severe fatigue,

that was noted by 9 (90%) of the 10 teachers who frequently

used a single conference room at a high school in Truckee,

California; 5 (23%) of the 22 responding teachers in the J

wing of a high school in Elk Grove, California; and 9 (10%) of

the 93 responding workers from an office building in

Washington, D.C. In those individuals with severe fatigue,

symptoms of mucous membrane irritation that are characteristic

of SBS were noted but also noted were neurological complaints

not typical of SBS but quite characteristic of CFS. We

conclude that CFS is often associated with SBS.

Chester AC, Levine PH

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