Lack of evidence for infection with known human and animal retroviruses in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome

Walid Heneine, Toni C. Woods, Saswati D. Sinha, Ali S. Khan, Louisa E. Chapman, Lawrence B. Schonberger, Thomas M. Folks

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38 Scopus citations


We investigated 21 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome who were identified through the surveillance system of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta for the presence of several human and animal retroviruses. In addition, we evaluated 21 CDC employee controls matched with the patients for age (±5 years), gender, and race. The viruses tested included human T-lymphotropic viruses types I and II; human spuma retrovirus; simian T-lymphotropic virus type I; simian retroviruses types 1, 2, and 3; bovine leukemia virus; feline leukemia virus; and gibbon ape leukemia virus. Samples of peripheral blood lymphocytes and leukocytes from patients and controls were analyzed in a blinded fashion for retroviral sequences; polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification assays and Southern blot hybridization to 32P-la-beled internal oligoprobes were used. All PCR assays were optimized for maximal sensitivity on respective infected cell lines or plasmids, and sensitivity controls were included in each experiment. All samples from patients and controls were negative for the tested retroviral sequences. Our data indicate that none of these retroviruses plays an etiologic role or is a cofactor in the chronic fatigue syndrome illnesses of our study population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S121-S125
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
StatePublished - Jan 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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