The Role Of Enterovirus In Fatigue Syndrome


It has been nearly two and a half decades after the coining of the term Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and still the cause behind it remains unknown. Of course speculation has been rife that enteroviruses have a major role to play where it comes to the development of this condition.

So, what are enteroviruses, in the first place? They are well known causes of gastrointestinal as well as respiratory infections. There were those initial reports that enteroviruses did have a role to play where it came to bringing on the onset of chronic fatigue syndrome, but these were met with a lot of skepticism. Thus, they remained largely ignored for a long time; for around a decade, that is.

However, there have been observations from in vitro experiments and even animal models that clearly establish a state of chronic persistence through the formation of double stranded RNA. If you look further, you will see that they are similar to the findings that are reported in the muscle biopsies of patients that have chronic fatigue syndrome. Furthermore, you will see that the recent evidence has not only confirmed the earlier studies, but they have also gone on to clarify the pathological role of viral RNA through antiviral treatment.

It is indeed true that chronic fatigue syndrome has placed a lot of challenges to physicians out there, where it comes to its diagnosis. In fact. the entire constellation of symptoms is really non-specific, and can be caused by a variety of diseases. There have indeed been many studies in the past, with a view to understanding the epidemiological, immunological and even neuropsychiatric aspects of this disorder.

So, what makes one think that enteroviruses might have a role to play, in the development of CFS? Let’s take a look.

The role of enteroviruses in the development of chronic fatigue syndrome

The role of enteroviruses in CFS has been one that is highly controversial in nature. At the moment, we do not have any conclusive evidence that can point to the fact that enteroviruses do have a great role to play in CFS, but there is a growing amount of research that suggests that they might indeed be responsible for the condition. Here’s a look at some studies that suggest the same.

Studies that suggest enteroviruses might be behind the onset of chronic fatigue syndrome

  • There was a 2008 study (Chia) that showed that there was a high predominance of enteroviruses in the guts of people that had this disease, and according to researchers, this could explain some of the common symptoms in the people that had this condition.
  • Then there was a 2010 follow up study (Chia) that suggested that the acute infections of the enteroviruses might lead to a ‘stalemate’ situation between the virus and the immune system and furthermore, it might even result in chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • There was another 2010 study (Zhang) that linked the enterovirus to a subtype of the chronic fatigue syndrome, and also labeled the enterovirus as one of the two most infectious triggers of the disease, that is, along with the Epstein-Barr virus.
Studies that suggest enteroviruses might be behind the onset of chronic fatigue syndrome

It is also interesting to note that since the bodies of the people that have chronic fatigue syndrome show signs of an activated immune system, there have been scientists that have believed for long that many of the cases are actually caused by either a viral or a bacterial infection, or perhaps even by an infection that permanently alters the immune system, before it leaves the body.

Another thing to note about enteroviruses is the fact that they live and reproduce in your intestinal tract. Sometimes, they spread to other parts of the body, and that includes your nervous system. Going on, you will see that human beings are susceptible to more than 70 different types of enteroviruses. They are in fact extremely common.

The thing is, flu-like symptoms are also common in people out there that have chronic fatigue syndrome. In fact, the onset of this condition often comes right after the CFS patient has had a flu-like illness. That is all the more reason for researchers to believe that enteroviruses might indeed have something to do with the onset of chronic fatigue syndrome.

You might also wish to check out our article on the possible expansion of the CFS treatment market by the year 2025.

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