Press Release

Study: Mononucleosis Can Cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Researchers in Chicago find mononucleosis leads to increased risk of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in adolescents.

Infectious mononucleosis in teenagers increases the risk of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Researchers in Chicago have found that teenagers, girls specifically, tend to have an increased risk of developing chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The authors of the study explained that “six, 12, and 24 months after infectious mononucleosis, 13%, 7%, and 4% of adolescents, respectively, met the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome.” (1) Noting the long-term risks of infectious mononucleosis, the study’s authors remind us that “female gender and greater fatigue severity (during mononucleosis) … were associated with the development of chronic fatigue syndrome in adolescents.” (1) Infectious mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) and the Cytomegalovirus (CMV). 

CFS, as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) explains, can be debilitating, with those worst infected suffering from “an all-encompassing fatigue that results in a dramatic decline in both activity level and stamina.” (3) 

A real danger of CFS is the ease at which it “can be misdiagnosed or overlooked because its symptoms are common to many other disorders.” (3) Mononucleosis can also be easily missed, as symptoms include “fever, sore throat, and fatigue,” which can be mistaken for the common cold or flu. (2) Early recognition and treatment of mononucleosis and CFS are important. According to the CDC, there is “evidence to indicate that the sooner a person is treated, the better the chance of improvement.” (3)

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1: Chronic fatigue syndrome after infectious mononucleosis in adolescents, by Katz BZ, Shiraishi Y, Mears CJ, Binns HJ, Taylor R

2: Wikipedia Article on infectious mononucleosis 

3: CDC website on chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms 

Note: This press release was first issued by The Center for the Biology of Chronic Disease (CBCD), a not-for-profit organization that specializes in researching the biology of foreign DNA.

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