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Epstein Barr antibodies in CFS subsets  



( A study by a team of researchers at Michigan and Wayne State Universities revealed that a significant subset of CFIDS patients test positive for the Epstein Barr virus. The study, published in the March 2004 issue of In Vivo, examined 58 CFS patients against 68 non-matched controls. Of the CFS patients, 33 tested positive for the EBV VCA Igm antibodies. Another 25 CFS patients, while having higher titers to an early antibody to the Epstein Barr virus, did not have indicators for an active infection with EBV.

According to the authors, “Serum antibody to EBV VCA Igm may define a “new” subset.... Serum antibodies are not demonstrable in the general population, and their presence is virtually diagnostic of acute infection. The prolonged findings of VCA Igm serum antibodies in a significant subset of CFS patients may be etiologic in these specific patients.”

The Epstein Barr virus is associated with acute mononucleosis. Most adults, at one time or another, experience an acute infection with the virus, which resolves on its own over the course of a few months. CFS was formerly known as Chronic Epstein-Barr, or CEBV, due to the prevalence of high, positive EBV titers in many patients. It is not known why some CFS patients test positive for the virus. It has been theorized that subsets of patients with CFS may have a unique immune dysfunction that makes it more difficult for their immune systems to control viral infections.