A large study on 121 patients with the chronic fatigue syndrome
(CFS) that examined muscle biopsy samples for enterovirus by
means of polymerase chain reaction analysis was carried out.
The results were compared with those obtained from 101 muscle
biopsy specimens from patients with a variety of other
neuromuscular disorders (OND), including neurogenic atrophies,
dystrophies, and mitochondrial, metabolic, and endocrine
myopathies. Thirty-two (26.4%) of the biopsy specimens from
the group of patients with CFS were positive, compared with 20
(19.8%) from the group of patients with OND, a difference that
was not significant. This finding is in contrast to those of
our previous smaller study in which significantly more
patients with CFS than control subjects (53% [32 of 60] vs.
15% [6 of 41]) had enterovirus RNA sequences in their muscle.
It was concluded that it is unlikely that persistent
enterovirus infection plays a pathogenetic role in CFS,
although an effect in initiating the disease process cannot be
Gow JW, Behan WM, Simpson K, McGarry F, Keir S, Behan PO