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CFS Epidemic and it's link to AIDS


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This is off subject a bit unless you suffer from CFS too, which many do. I came across this article a month ago and it has me a bit nervous but was wondering if anyone else has heard any of this? (It's very long so you might want to skim through the highlights) Actually I cut and past just a few paragraphs, it went on for pagers so if you want the whole article I will paste the link at the bottom.

Health Care Workers you may be interested in one of these paragraphs!

This paper is titled -

America's Biggest Cover-Up: 50 More Things Everyone Should Know About The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Epidemic And Its Link To AIDS

Some CFS Patients May Be "Non-HIV AIDS" Cases

Chapter One

Some CFS Patients May Be "Non-HIV AIDS" Cases

A disturbing announcement was made at the July 1992 international AIDS conference held in Amsterdam: Several people with symptoms of AIDS, but who had no evidence of infection with either HIV-1 or HIV-

2 (the viruses generally believed, at the time, to cause AIDS), had been identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. A few weeks later, in early September, Newsweek made an even more shocking announcement: that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome researcher Dr. Paul Cheney had in his practice 20 CFS patients who had the same immune system deficiencies as the non-HIV AIDS cases revealed at the Amsterdam conference.

What wasn't known to most observers was that one of the researchers who had first said publicly that he was aware of such cases, Dr. Sidhur Gupta of the University of California, Irvine, is himself a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome researcher.

The fact that some CFS patients were developing exactly the same immune system problems as AIDS patients, however, raised the questions not only of what was causing that immune system destruction but also of the relationship that exists between the two syndromes.

The hallmark of the HIV-negative AIDS cases, as established by the Centers for Disease Control, is a depletion of a type of immune system cell called T4 (or CD4) cells. The T4 cells of AIDS patients can fall to very low levels and, although recent studies have suggested that there is no real correlation with health status, a decreasing T4 cell count is generally viewed as a sign of worsening disease.

The CDC decided to call the HIV-negative, AIDS-like disease "ICL" (an abbreviation for "idiopathic CD4-positive T-lymphocytopenia," which simply means an unexplained depletion of T4 cells).

Most healthy people have a T4 cell count of approximately 1,000; a T4 cell count below 800 is considered abnormal. In order to be diagnosed with ICL, a person must have a T4 cell count of less than 300.

One of the most puzzling things about the ICL cases to AIDS researchers -- other than the fact that they didn't have HIV -- is that most of the patients do not fit into recognized AIDS "risk behavior" categories; that is, they were not gay men, IV drug users, or the sexual partners of people in those risk groups. These cases may, in fact, be dramatic evidence that federal officials have not told the public the whole truth about the nature and the full scope of the AIDS epidemic.

The mystery of what role HIV actually plays in causing the immune system deterioration and symptoms seen in AIDS deepened in early October 1992. The British medical journal The Lancet reported that five people had received blood from a man later found to be infected with HIV; however, ten years later, the five transfusion recipients as well as the original, HIV-positive blood donor remained free of AIDS symptoms and were apparently healthy. The Australian researchers who reported those cases concluded that these six people were infected with a non-disease-causing strain, or type, of HIV.

The link between the immune system dysfunction seen in AIDS and in CFS was made explicit in early 1993 when government scientists admitted that CFS patients, like AIDS patients, suffer a decline in T4 cells. The government's leading CFS researcher, Dr. Stephen Straus at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, published a research paper in The Journal of Clinical Immunology in which a decrease in the number of T4 cells in CFS patients was documented.

Dr. Straus proposed a novel mechanism to explain the loss of T4 cells in CFS patients: The T4 cells of CFS patients were not depleted, as they were in AIDS patients, according to Dr. Straus; they were just hiding in organ tissues. Unfortunately, Dr. Straus was unable to produce any evidence to support this theory (and still has not done so). Dr. Straus did not suggest that any of his CFS patients had T4 cell counts so low that they could be identified as ICL patients.

Meanwhile, Dr. Cheney, in addition to announcing that some of his CFS patients had low enough T4 cell counts to be considered non-

HIV AIDS cases, reported that as many as 40 percent of his CFS patients also had a close associate with an illness similar to CFS. This information -- along with the mystery of why AIDS could develop without HIV infection and why HIV infection does not always lead to AIDS -- raised the possibility that a virus or bacteria that spreads more easily than HIV could be attacking people's immune systems.

Health Care Workers May Be At Increased Risk For CFS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received so many calls from doctors, nurses, and other health care workers stating that they had developed CFS that a study of CFS in that ""risk group'' was planned for 1991-1992, as documents received under the Freedom of Information Act show.

That study of the incidence of CFS among health care workers, however, was never carried out.

The explanation of the study, which was included in financial projections for the CDC's Fiscal Year 1991 and 1992 New Collections (part of the Department of Health and Human Services budget) states, in part:

"CDC has received a significant number of calls and letters from physicians, nurses, and other health care providers reporting that they, and in many cases, other members of their families, are suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. CDC plans to conduct a nationwide study of chronic fatigue syndrome in health care providers to determine the prevalence of the illness, its characteristics, and associated exposure factors...."

The CFIDS Chronicle has documented -- probably by accident -- a large number of cases of physicians, nurses, and other health professionals who have developed CFS, many of whom have written articles for the patient advocacy journal.

A Canadian medical researcher described, in the CFIDS Chronicle, how his life had changed since he became ill with CFS. He wrote that it was hard to remember that he used to race against the clock, writing grant applications to fund his research, or to save the lives of the babies he cared for. This doctor mourned the loss of weeks and months that had turned into more than a year of idleness.

A former nurse also wrote to the CFIDS Chronicle, describing how unhappy it made her that she, who used to care for other people, now could not even take care of herself.

I have interviewed a surprising number of physicians who have CFS and, in most instances, they have reported being just as badly treated by their own profession as other CFS patients. Physicians who develop CFS are shocked, I have found, that their colleagues do not take their illness seriously. Like other CFS patients, physician-patients often find that they have to consult numerous doctors before they find someone who is knowledgeable about CFS.

Like teachers and airline personnel, health care professionals may be at greater risk for contracting CFS simply because they have close contact with large numbers of people.

Until the infectious agent that causes CFS is positively identified, however, no one can really explain why health care workers are more at risk for contracting CFS.

If you would like to read this article in its entirety please see http://www.chronicillnet.org/CFS/Ostrom/CFS_book.html

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Whoa! I haven't heard anything of this before. I had always wondered about a possible connection because of the fact that both diseases (or syndrome since we're not alowed to call CFS a disease) have problems with compromised immune systems. I would think if there was a link between CFS and AIDES doctors would want to know. Just for the fact that knowing more about AIDES would bring you closer to a cure. But then again since so many doctors aren't excepting of CFS maybe they would want to ignore it. they're good at doing that. (sorry is my bitterness showing?) Anyways, thanks , I will have to print this whole article out and read it later.I'd certaily like to look into this further.


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