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Question
Posted by: Di | 2003/03/08

M.E. / Yuppie flu / Brucella virus / Coxaki virus

My sister had a blood test and was diagnosed with having the Coxaki (spelling!) virus, which has something to do with ME. Please explain.

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Our expert says:
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Di, most experts these days say that “Yuppie Flu” or “myalgic encephalomyelitis/ME” doesn’t exist. They feel that in 99% of people with chronic fatigue, a cause other than “Yuppie Flu” can be found or that no reasons to believe that it is “Yuppie Flu” can be found. It is now recommended that a whole battery of tests be done. These tests include a full blood count, Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate, ALT, total protein, albumin, alkaline phosphatase, calcium, phosphate, glucose, blood urea nitrogen, electrolytes, thyroid stimulating hormone and a urinalysis. If all these tests come up negative, the diagnosis is made and reviewed every 6 months. The bad news is that no treatment has been proven to be 100% effective, but the good news is that full recovery is eventually possible in almost all cases.

At this stage the topic of discussion is not what treatments should be used, but whether this diagnosis isn’t used as a “waste basket” diagnosis and that a lot of people are diagnosed with it due to a lack of insight/knowledge on the doctor’s part. Nobody doubts that some people suffer from fatigue after a viral infection; it’s just that the incidence seems to be much lower than what was originally thought. When it comes to suffering from this problem for longer than 6 months, the incidence is even lower. We then call it chronic fatigue syndrome, as it is more often something else than post viral.

Another thing is that a large part of the general population test positive for having been exposed to Coxsackie viruses, but they don’t have the symptoms associated with “Yuppie Flu”. The Coxsackie viruses are a group of viruses that cause a host of different diseases. They are divided in two groups namely A (23 types) and B (6 types).
Coxsackie viruses cause the following syndromes:
1. Aseptic meningitis.
2. Bornholm disease.
3. Bronchitis.
4. Conjunctivitis.
5. Gastroenteritis.
6. Hand-foot-and-mouth-disease.
7. Herpangina.
8. Myocarditis (heart muscle inflammation).
9. Paralysis.
10. Pericarditis (heart sack inflammation).
11. Skin rashes.
As you can see, saying that you have Coxsackie virus doesn’t say much. Another thing is to make the diagnoses you have to isolate the virus or prove the presence of IgM antibodies. Usually we feel that you have to have a count of at least 320 for it to be significant as most people have been exposed to these viruses at some stage of their lives. Good luck.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Max | 2003/03/10

Been there and got the T-shirt!! At the age of 16 I went on every possible medication you can imagine. From a load of drips to anti-depression meds. My mom was in a state. Finally I decided to get up and do something. With all the fear, pains and fatigue I changed my eating habits from pizza and fast foods to fresh veggies and fruits and tried my very best to do some form of exercise each day. (What ever I could manage). The meds made me feel even worse, so I tried to drop that as soon as possible. Within 6 months I had lost some weight, gained muscle and felt like a million bucks! I went from sleeping for 3 days stright to being able to write my exams and staying awake for it. It was not easy.

Take your sister for a picknick on your lawn or a park, go on a "full-on-life-health-diet" together. Stick it out with her. She will get very down and low. Help her out and pick her up. Things will look up! Most of all do not let her sit around and feel sorry for herself. This illness in as much mental as physical.

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