News on Health & Science

Gut Virus Causes Fatigue Syndrome

A group of viruses that has long caused respiratory and gut infections may actually be triggering the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Shedding new light on to a disease that has long been shrouded in mystery, a team of American researchers has found that Enteroviruses, which cause acute respiratory, neurological and gastrointestinal infections, mostly in children, may also be causing CFS. Doctors have for long known the symptoms of CFS – constant exhaustion, mental fogginess, sleep disorders, muscle/joint pain, impaired memory, inability to concentrate and depression.

But lack of physical determinants caused the debilitating illness to go undiagnosed in most patients across the world.

The lack of a diagnostic test for CFS also led many to dismiss it as an imaginary disorder. Experts estimate that the condition affects 30% of all patients who visit a general hospital OPD in India.

Women between 40-60 years of age have been found to be four times more likely than men to get it. The reason – they are under a lot more stress, having to manage both their careers and home.

The latest study of 165 patients with CFS or ME found that more than 80% tested positive for particles of enteroviruses, which infect the bowel. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology, saw patients undergoing stomach biopsies and endoscopy to search for causes of their long-standing gut complaints. California infectious disease specialist John Chia said, “Over 82% of the specimens from CFS patients tested positive for enteroviral particles compared with just 20% of the samples from healthy people.”

Dr Anoop Mishra from Fortis said, “Lack of knowledge makes doctors in India prescribe a dozen tests. Patients undergo blood, sugar, heamoglobin, thyroid and urine test, liver functions and chest X-ray. But when nothing is found, patients are discharged. CFS is fast becoming a common cause for heart diseases, diabetes and hypertension.”

Dr T S Kleir, HOD of interventional cardiology at Escorts, said, “CFS is becoming a highly common urban disease. Yet, it is neglected. No studies are being undertaken to understand its prevalence and treatment options.”

Source:The Times Of India

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