Teens who suffer from 'mono' or glandular fever may be a greater risk of developing CFS

Dr. Ben Z. Katz, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago suggest that although previous studies suggested that about one in ten adults with acute infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever) go on to develop chronic fatigue syndrome what happens to teenagers with mononucleosis is less well-studied.

The researchers monitored 301 adolescents with the infection. Six months after the mononucleosis diagnosis, 70 patients (24%) had not made a full recovery. Thirty-nine of these (13% of the original group of 301) were diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Six months later, at a 12-month follow-up visit, 7% still had chronic fatigue syndrome, and at 24 months, chronic fatigue syndrome persisted in 4%. That is about 20 times higher than in the general teenage population. All 13 patients who still had chronic fatigue syndrome at 24 months were female and, on average, they reported worse fatigue at 12 months.

Treatment with steroids for the infectious mononucleosis at the time of its diagnosis did not appear to affect the risk of developing chronic fatigue syndrome.


Paediatrics July 2009

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