Previous research has suggested that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients report more upper respiratory tract illnesses (URTIs) than controls.
The present study aimed to replicate and extend this research.
A prospective study of the incidence of URTIs was conducted. This was similar to previous work involving diary studies but also included objective measures of illness severity (e.g. nasal secretion; sub-lingual temperature) and infection (virus isolation from nasal swabs and antibody changes). Fifty-seven patients with CFS, diagnosed according to the 1994 CDC criteria, were recruited randomly from a
volunteer panel compiled of patients who had attended the Cardiff CFS outpatient clinic. A further 57 individuals without CFS were recruited from a general population research panel.
The results confirmed that CFS patients report more upper respiratory virus infections and the virological results showed that this was not due to a reporting bias but reflected greater susceptibility to infection.
This increased susceptibility to infection in the CFS group can account for the increased reporting of URTIs found in this and previous studies.
Chronic fatigue syndrome and increased susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections and illnesses, by Andrew P. Smith & Marie A. Thomas in Fatigue, April 27, 2015