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Virus May Cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

October 15th 2009

A recently discovered virus may be a leading cause of the baffling condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome.
By Raphael Gassiolle

A recently discovered virus may be a leading cause of the baffling condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), according to researchers at the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Nevada.

A virus called XMRV was found in the blood of 68 out of 101 patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, while it appeared in only eight of 218 people without the condition.

“It's a blood borne pathogen that we contract through body fluids and blood transmission,” said Dr. Judy Mikovits, lead researcher of the study, according to the BBC. "The symptoms of ME (CFS)—chronic fatigue, immune deficiencies, chronic infections—are what we see with retroviruses.

Added Mikovits: “This discovery could be a major step in the discovery of vital treatment options for millions of patients.”

But more research is needed before it can be confirmed that XMRV directly causes CFS. Other studies have shown that XMRV may play a role in prostate cancer.

An estimated 17 million people worldwide suffer from CFS, but this is little medical consensus on it cause, or even whether is it a disease.

The results of the CFS study first appeared in the journal Science.