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Stomach Virus a Culprit in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Date:9/13/2007

Research was spurred by father's concern for son with debilitating condition

THURSDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- A father's concern for his son led to research that now sheds new light on a disease that has long been shrouded in mystery.

Andrew Chia, now 24, was diagnosed with debilitating chronic fatigue syndrome in 1997.

This week he is co-author with his father, Dr. John Chia, of a study which links chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) with enteroviruses, which cause acute respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.

"This is sort of a new beginning. Now we can have development of antiviral drugs," said the elder Chia, an infectious disease specialist in private practice in Torrance, Calif. "We don't have anything for these poor people, although we've tried a number of things. Now we can study how these viruses behave and how we can kill them."

"Dr. Chia's data was on a substantial number of patients," said Dr. Nancy Klimas, a professor of medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and director of the Gulf War Illness Center at the VA Medical Center. "This could send the field in a new direction."

The findings are published in the Sept. 13 online issue of the Journal of Clinical Pathology.

More than 1 million people in the United States are estimated to suffer from CFS, costing the nation some $9 billion annually. The condition is more common in women aged 40 to 60 and is marked by a cluster of debilitating symptoms, including unexplained fatigue, problems sleeping, problems with memory and concentration, and pain. CFS can be as disabling as multiple sclerosis.

The illness was first recognized in the late 1980s and, initially dubbed the "yuppie flu," has suffered from a credibility crisis. The causes of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) remain unclear.

Several different viruses, including Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus and parvovirus have
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