Detection of enterovirus-specific RNA in serum: the relationship to chronic fatigue

The serum of 88 chronic fatigue patients was screened for
enteroviral specific sequences by polymerase chain reaction
(PCR) assay. The PCR method used was "nested" PCR targetting
the 5' nontranslated region of the enteroviral genome which
yielded a final fragment length of 264 base pairs. Samples
were obtained from patients during 1990-1991. In addition,
buffy coat specimens and stool specimens were examined in some
patients. Samples from two cohorts of comparison individuals
were also obtained. The comparison groups were firstly,
acutely ill individuals with symptoms consistent with a
presumed enteroviral infection (matched by age, sex, and date
of receipt of specimen) and secondly, healthy individuals
(matched by age and date of receipt of specimen). Enteroviral
specific sequences were detected in 36 of 88 serum samples
from chronic fatigue patients, 22 of 82 acutely ill
individuals, and 3 of 126 healthy individuals. The enteroviral
PCR positivity did not correlate with any one particular
feature of chronic fatigue nor did it reflect any history of
illness at onset of fatigue, duration of fatigue, or age of
patient. These results provide new evidence for the presence
of enteroviral specific sequences in serum, buffy coat, and
stool samples in many patients with chronic fatigue. This may
reflect a persistent enterovirus infection in a proportion of
chronic fatigue patients.

MCM: See also J Gen Virology 1995 76:1701

Clements GB, McGarry F, Nairn C, Galbraith DN

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