Yersinia enterocolitica & the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the potential role of Yersinia

enterocolitica in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome


METHODS: An immunoblot technique was used to detect

antibodies to various Yersinia outer membrane proteins (YOPs)

in serum samples from 88 patients with CFS and 77 healthy

neighbourhood controls, matched for gender and age.


The prevalence of IgG and IgA antibodies to various Yersinia

outer membrane proteins (YOPs) did not differ between patients

with CFS and healthy controls. Twenty-four patients (27%) and

nineteen controls (25%) had IgG antibodies to one or more

YOPs. Four patients and two controls had both serum IgG and

IgA antibodies to at least two different YOPs, compatible with

a recent or persistent infection. Although all patients with

positive IgG and IgA reactions to two or more YOPs had

symptoms that could point to persistent Yersinia infection,

these symptoms were also found frequently in patients without

antibodies to YOPs.

CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that Y.

enterocolitica is unlikely to play a major role in the

aetiology of CFS.

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