Viral serologies in patients with chronic fatigue & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

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Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness characterized by

disabling fatigue associated with complaints of fevers, sore

throat, myalgia, lymphadenopathy, sleep disturbances,

neurocognitive difficulties, and depression. A striking

feature of CFS is its sudden onset following an acute,

presumably viral, illness and the subsequent recurrent

“flu-like” symptoms. It has been speculated that both CFS and

debilitating chronic fatigue (CF) that does not meet strict

criteria for CFS may be the direct or indirect result of

viral infections. We therefore tested 548 chronically

fatigued patients who underwent a comprehensive medical and

psychiatric evaluation for antibodies to 13 viruses. Our

objectives were to compare the seroprevalence and/or

geometric mean titer (GMT) of antibodies to herpes simplex

virus 1 and 2, rubella, adenovirus, human herpesvirus 6,

Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and Cox-sackie B virus,

types 1-6 in patients with CF to healthy control subjects.

Other goals were to determine if greater rates of

seropositivity or higher GMTs occurred among subsets of

patients with CFS, fibromyalgia, psychiatric disorders, a

self-reported illness onset with a viral syndrome, and a

documented temperature > 37 degrees C on physical

examination. Differences in the seroprevalence or GMTs of

antibodies to 13 viruses were not consistently found in those

with CF compared with control subjects, or in any subsets of

patients including those with CFS, an acute onset of illness,

or a documented fever. These particular viral serologies were

not useful in evaluating patients presenting with CF.

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