Stomach Virus Could Trigger CFS
Enterovirus Found in Many Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Sufferers
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Other Conditions Lead to CFS
In previous research, Chia reported finding evidence of chronic infection in the muscles of CFS patients.
In the new study, he looked for similar evidence in stomach tissue taken from CFS patients who had the diagnostic procedure known as endoscopy, in which a long tube with a camera is inserted via the mouth into the stomach and biopsies of tissue are taken.
Specimens from 165 CFS patients and 34 people without the disorder were tested, and Chia found evidence of possible chronic infection in 82% of the CFS patients and 20% of the well patients.
Though the findings must be verified, Chia says they suggest a strong association between possible chronic infection with enterovirus and chronic fatigue syndrome.
“Although finding a chronic infection in the stomach may not directly prove a similar infection in the brain, muscle, or heart, it opens up a new direction in the research for this elusive disease,” he writes in the latest online edition of the Journal of Clinical Pathology.
Specifically, he says endoscopy could prove to be a relatively simple test to confirm persistence of enterovirus infection in CFS patients, as well as a way of following responses to antiviral treatments.
Chronic Fatigue and Immune Disorder Syndrome Association of America president Kimberly McCleary says CFS has turned out to be a much more complex illness than anyone could have predicted.
“It is unlikely that we are ever going to find just one bug to explain all cases of CFS,” she says.
She points to recent research from Australia finding that three very different infections result in a CFS-like condition in 12% of cases.
“It is quite possible that both an infectious agent and the [body’s] response to that agent act as triggers,” she says.