The Journal of Clinical Pathology reports that chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as ME (myalgic encephalitis), may be linked to a stomach virus. The new findings are based on a study of 165 patients with ME, all of whom were subjected to endoscopy because of longstanding gut complaints.
Endoscopy involves the threading of a long tube with a camera on the tip through the gullet into the stomach. Specimens of stomach tissue were also taken to search for viral proteins and compared with specimens taken from healthy people and patients with other gut diseases.
Most of the biopsy specimens from the patients with gut problems showed evidence of mild long term inflammation. Interestingly, few were infected with Helicobacter pylori, a common bacterial infection associated with inflammation. But more than 80 percent of the specimens from the ME patients tested positive for enteroviral particles compared with only seven of the 34 specimens from healthy people.
Enteroviruses, which infect the bowel, cause severe but short lasting respiratory and gut infections. Patients with ME often have intermittent or persistent gut problems, including indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome.
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Source: Journal of Clinical Pathology