Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Virus Identified

October 9, 2009

(ChattahBox) — It is a condition that has baffled doctors for decades some even suggesting the symptoms were psychological. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition of prolonged and severe tiredness, body aches and other symptoms and affects 17 million people worldwide. CFS is a multi-systemic disease only previously diagnosed by a set of criteria, requiring that the symptoms must not be caused by other medical conditions, with severe mental and physical exhaustion, which is “unrelieved by rest”, is worsened by exertion and is present for at least six months.
But on Thursday, an article published online in Science reported a viral correlation that could lead to surer diagnosis and an avenue for treatment. The study found that 67 percent of 101 chronic fatigue patients also had the infectious XMRV virus, or xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus. In contrast, 3.7 percent of 218 healthy people had the virus. According to Dr. Judy A. Mikovits, lead author of the paper, continuing research after the paper was published shows that almost 98 percent of 300 patients with the disease had antibodies to the virus. This indicated they had been infected with XMRV. Like HIV, XMRV is a retrovirus, and Mikovits plans to test antiretroviral AIDS drugs to see if they help chronic fatigue patients. Although more research is needed, Mikovits thinks that XMRV does cause chronic fatigue.  Dr Mikovits said: ‘With those numbers, I would say, yes we’ve found the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. We also have data showing that the virus attacks the human immune system.’

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