Does XMRV cause chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)?

Kent Holtorf, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
There has been a lot of recent media attention regarding the association of the xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia. It was an expected major breakthrough in the cause of CFS and fibromyalgia when a study found that the majority of patients with CFS tested positive for the XMRV virus while less than five percent of healthy individuals tested positive. While numerous previous studies have found that the majority of CFS and fibromyalgia patients carry a variety of chronic active infections that are not present in healthy patients, including Epstein Barr, human herpesvirus 6 (HHV6), enterovirus, mycoplasma and Lyme disease, this was felt to be groundbreaking because the XMRV virus is a retrovirus similar to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This was thought to possibly mean that CFS and fibromyalgia are maybe like a "mini-AIDS" (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). A number of studies have, however, subsequently failed to confirm this original study.
Jacob Teitelbaum
Integrative Medicine
Not necessarily. Because so many infections have been documented in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), it could simply be a reflection of an immune dysfunction, and not the cause.

Continue Learning about Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral infections like herpes simplex, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), chicken pox and rotavirus are infections caused by a virus instead of a bacterium. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, but some specific viruses ...

like influenza A and B can be treated with certain antiviral medications. Most commonly, treatment for viral infections includes drinking lots of fluids, getting rest, eating well and letting the illness run its course.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.