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Lack of evidence for infection with known human & animal retroviruses in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

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We investigated 21 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome who

were identified through the surveillance system of the Centers

for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta for the

presence of several human and animal retroviruses. In

addition, we evaluated 21 CDC employee controls matched with

the patients for age (+/- 5 years), gender, and race. The

viruses tested included human T-lymphotropic viruses types I

and II; human spuma retrovirus; simian T-lymphotropic virus

type I; simian retroviruses types 1, 2, and 3; bovine leukemia

virus; feline leukemia virus; and gibbon ape leukemia virus.

Samples of peripheral blood lymphocytes and leukocytes from

patients and controls were analyzed in a blinded fashion for

retroviral sequences; polymerase chain reaction (PCR)

amplification assays and Southern blot hybridization to

32P-labeled internal oligoprobes were used. All PCR assays

were optimized for maximal sensitivity on respective infected

cell lines or plasmids, and sensitivity controls were included

in each experiment. All samples from patients and controls

were negative for the tested retroviral sequences. Our data

indicate that none of these retroviruses plays an etiologic

role or is a cofactor in the chronic fatigue syndrome

illnesses of our study population.

Heneine W, Woods TC, Sinha SD, Khan AS, Chapman LE, Schonberger LB,

Folks TM

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