We have sought evidence of enteroviral persistence in humans. Eight individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) were positive for enteroviral sequences, detected by PCR in two serum samples taken at least 5 months apart. The nucleotide sequence of the 5' non-translated region (bases 174-423) was determined for each amplicon. Four individuals had virtually identical nucleotide sequences ( > 97%) in both samples. The sequence pairs also each had a unique shared pattern indicating that the virus had persisted. In one individual (HO), it was clear that there had been infection with two different enteroviruses. In the remaining three individuals, the lack of unique shared features suggested that re-infection had occurred, rather than persistence. With the exception of HO, the sequences fell into a subgroup that is related to the Coxsackie B-like viruses.


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