New Study Links CFS to Enterovirus Infection
In a study published on September 13, 2007 by the Journal of Clinical Pathology, father-son researcher team Drs. John and Andrew Chia found evidence of enteroviral infection in the stomach tissue of 80 percent of the CFS patients they tested, compared to 20 percent of the control subjects.
Enteroviruses (of which there are more than 70 identified types) infect the bowel, causing severe but short-lasting gut or respiratory infections before typically heading to the central nervous system, heart and muscles.
Earlier studies of CFS have demonstrated evidence of chronic or recurring enterovirus infection in CFS patients, using complex peripheral blood analysis or muscle biopsies.
In this study, the researchers—taking a clue from the standard gut problems many CFS patients experience—used common endoscopy to retrieve and test stomach tissue for viral proteins. In the study, 165 CFS patients with gut problems, 12 people with gastric diseases (such as gastritis and IBS) and 22 people with no stomach problems all underwent GI endoscopy and antrum biopsy. Of the CFS patients, an overwhelming 135 of 165 tested positive for enteroviral particles, while only 7 of the total 34 control subjects showed evidence of enteroviral infection.
These results seem to suggest that a significant subset of CFS patients may have a chronic form of enteroviral infection that could be diagnosed by stomach biopsy and perhaps treated with antiviral therapy, although there is no widely available treatment for eteroviral infections.
More research is needed to confirm this finding in other CFS patient groups and to understand the relationsip of CFS and enteroviruses.
Chia KS, Chia A. Chronic fatigue syndrome is associated with chronic enterovirus infection of the stomach. J Clin path 2007; 0: 1-6 doi: 10.11136/jcp.2007.050054
Click here to view the study paper in full.