The Pathogens in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)

Few subjects are more fraught with controversy than the role pathogens do or do not play in CFS. The flu-like symptoms often found at the onset and during the illness, as well as the immune abnormalities sometimes seen have long suggested a pathogenic origin to this disease but the many different pathogen triggers identified thus far (Epstein-Barr virus, coxsackie b, parvovirus, giardia, etc ) suggest the initial pathogen involved may be less important than something the pathogen does.

No arena of study has been more creative with researchers proposing unusual forms of Epstein-Barr Virus, HHV-6 and enteroviruses are causing distress in chronic fatigue syndrome.

Sophisticated studies underway in 2012 by the Chronic Fatigue Initiative, CFIDS Association of America, CDC and Whittemore Peterson Institute should shed light on the role pathogens may play in this disease.

The Herpes Viruses: Hesperviridae

The herpesviruses or herpes virus family come first in this series of papers on the pathogens in chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) for a good reason; no other family of viruses has come close to receiving the kind of attention that this group of viruses has. The tale of the herpesviruses in ME/CFS with their rises and falls, their identity questions, and now their seeming re-emergence from the ‘dead files’, have all the complexity of a Greek play.

Most herpesvirus activity is benign and goes unnoticed but herpes virus activation can be associated with a wide variety of disturbing conditions including encephalitis/meningitis (HSVI and II, HHV6-B), shingles, chicken pox (varicella zoster virus), hearing loss, mononucleosis (Epstein Barr virus, post-viral fatigue (EBV)), Karposi’s sarcoma (HHV8), and atherosclerosis, hearing loss, mental retardation, retinitis (human cytomegalovirus – (HMCV)), chronic fatigue syndrome (HHV-6) and multiple sclerosis (HHV-6, EBV). (De Bolle et. al. 2005).

Except for HHV2 and HHV8 all the herpesviruses are commonly found in the human population and all share an important characteristic; the ability to hide out from the immune system in a latent state in the body for long periods and then re-emerge during times of immunosuppression.

  •  Human Herpesvirus Six (HHV-6) - No pathogens have received more attention in CFS than the peculiar family of viruses called the Herpesviruses, and no pathogen has received more attention than Human Herpesvirus Six (HHV-6)
  • Epstein-Bar Virus - more CFS patients appear to become ill after a bout with EBV than any other pathogen. Check out a four part series on the biggest trigger in ME/CFS.
  • Varicella Zoster- A different herpes virus for CFS?

Other Pathogens

  • Enteroviruses – Enteroviruses were the ‘first’ pathogen suspected in this disorder and the first to fall out of favor but dogged work by Dr. John Chia brought them back into the discussion.
  • Giardia - a early outbreak study pegged giardia as the only pathogen that was definitively associated with an outbreak. Almost 20 years later another study suggested it could be as well.
  • XMRV - Many negative studies and some elegant detective work at the National Cancer Institute and other, indicated that XMRV did not play a role in causing ME/CFS.  From the publication of the October, 2009 paper until the Blood Working group at the end of 2011 it was wild ride indeed.
John Danstrom July 27, 2012 at 3:17 am

Hello Cort,

I know how busy you are, I have come to the cross roads with my current Dr. via Kaiser. Will not
provide any more pain meds after a certain date! I wanted to talk with you breifly by phone if I could.
I live in Silican Vally, Calif phone number is 408-265-7670.

Thx John

Keir March 2, 2013 at 1:38 am

Oakland Kaiser has a Pain Mgt program that is good. They graduated me and my current PCP continues my pain meds on an ongoing basis. See if there is any way to transfer your care.

Nancy Moore April 17, 2014 at 11:31 am

John, try with their “fibrorelief” product and eating a grain free vegan anti inflammatory diet. That’s what I have to do. With herbs to kill the virus. MSG me if u want more info. :-).

prioris January 21, 2013 at 9:51 am

None of these microbes cause extremely high levels of ciguatoxin to get produced within the body. 95% of people with CFIDS/ME have the ciguatoxin. This should be the way to diagnose PWC’s. Find out what is produces the ciguatoxin and one will know what microbe is doing the damage.

How most of the microbe infections got there is clear. Behind the decades of lies by the government concerning CFIDS are weaponized vaccines (depopulation agendas) which have been behind the explosion of chronic illness and the need to carry out a cover up. The power structure above is inhabited by violent sociopaths with dark agendas. Unfortunately most CFIDS live their whole life unaware or indifferent to this. With the existence of a torture and murder facility called Guantanamo Bay, there is no longer any excuse for not knowing. Most are bonded to the powers that be who victimize them. The cycle of abuse will be difficult to stop.

Nancy Moore April 17, 2014 at 11:34 am

You are spot on Prioris! I got the Epstein Barr LIVE VIRUS in a vaccine as a baby!!!

kschell89 June 5, 2015 at 11:56 pm

Thanks dr chia for bringing enteroviruses back in to the picture bc my cfs was most certainly caused by one: coxsackie b

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