To test for an association between chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and infections with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7), antibodies to these viruses were tested in the serum from three groups of individuals: (1) 10 CFS patients with chronic fatigue beginning with a clinical pattern of acute infectious mononucleosis [IM; true chronic IM (CIM)]; (2) 10 CFS patients whose illness did not start with acute IM (non-CIM), and (3) healthy controls. High EBV antibody titers were demonstrated in most patients. Antibodies to ZEBRA, a product of the immediate early EBV gene BZLF1, were detected in the serum of CFS patients at a higher frequency than in healthy controls. Antibody titers to HHV-6 and HHV-7 were also higher in the patients with CFS than in the controls. These results are consistent with the view that CFS patients may have reactivations of EBV, HHV-6 and HHV-7.

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