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Aetiology and pathogenesis

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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  • aetiology and pathogenis are unknown (1,2,3,4)
  • a significant proportion of patients relate the onset of chronic fatigue syndrome to an infection
  • a community based study has shown that up to 10% of patients fufilled the definition of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) following Epstein-Barr virus infection (2) CFS has also been associated with other herpes viruses, enterovirus and hepatitis virus infections, and non-viral infections such as toxoplasmosis, Q fever, brucellosis, salmonellosis and Lyme disease (3)
  • it is unclear whether infections have a role in the continuing illness or act as a trigger in predisposed individuals
  • other noted triggers include chemotherapy and immunisations
  • CFS patients may show features of other syndromes, particularly fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome. This association suggests that these syndromes may share similar pathogenetic, predisposing or trigger factors


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