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Clin Infect Dis. 1994 Nov;19(5):860-4.

Enteroviruses and the chronic fatigue syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology, University Hospital Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


The possible role of enteroviral persistence in the etiology of the chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) was investigated by serological testing, VP-1 antigen testing, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis of stool specimens as well as by viral cultures of stool--both direct and after acid treatment. No differences between 76 patients with disabling unexplained fatigue and 76 matched controls were found by serological or antigen testing. Furthermore, no enteroviruses were isolated from any stool culture. Enterovirus was detected by PCR in one stool specimen from a patient with CFS but was not detectable in a second sample obtained from the same patient 3 months later. All stool specimens from controls were PCR-negative. These results argue against the hypothesis that enteroviruses persist in patients with CFS and that their persistence plays a role in the pathogenesis of this syndrome.

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