Study: Common Stomach Virus Tied to Chronic Fatigue

Is your stomach making you sleepy?

Chronic fatigue syndrome may be linked to a common stomach virus, according to new research published ahead of print in Journal of Clinical Pathology.

The researchers base their findings on 165 patients with the condition, all of whom were subjected to endoscopy because of longstanding stomach complaints.

The study was authored by Dr. John Chia, an infectious disease specialist in private practice in Torrance, Calif., and his son, Andrew, who suffers from CFS.

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 none of whom had been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.

More than 80 percent of the specimens from the chronic fatigue patients tested positive for viral particles in the gastrointestinal tract compared with only seven of the 34 specimens from healthy people.

Patients with chronic fatigue often have intermittent or persistent gut problems, including indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome, the study explained.

And viral infections, such as Epstein Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and parvovirus, among others, produce many of the symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome, according to the research.

Enteroviruses, which infect the bowel, cause severe but short lasting respiratory and gut infections. There are more than 70 different types, and they head for the central nervous system, heart and muscles.

Most of the biopsy specimens from patients with stomach problems showed evidence of mild long-term inflammation, although few were infected with Helicobacter pylori, a common bacterial infection associated with inflammation.