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Deadly Fungal Infections on the Rise

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Both chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are poorly understood in the medical community. Current evidence points to chronic infection and its damage to immune system function as likely causes. Reference 1 describes evidence for the XMRV virus as the cause for many cases of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Regulation of the immune response is like walking a tightrope. When the immune system produces too much inflammation, the result can be a fatal case of sepsis. With too little inflammation, the pathogen may survive to set up camp in a weakened host. Chronic inflammation can keep the germs from killing us, but at a high cost to our health. It doesn't matter so much what kind of germ it is, just how long it's able to keep the battle going. Even gum infections can have serious effects on our overall health (Reference 2).

Teresa Eakman, in her book “One and the Same," points out extensive similarities in the reported symptoms of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and systemic infection with the Candida fungus. Candida used to be known just for vaginal yeast infections. It is now recognized as a potentially much more serious pathogen.

Fungal infections in general used to be considered “clinically insignificant”, according to Reference 4. But over the last 20 years, systemic fungal infections have been on the rise. For patients with seriously impaired immune systems, infections by Candida and Aspergillus fungi can be life threatening. They are often diagnosed at autopsy. And they are notoriously difficult to diagnose while the patient is still alive: Reference 5 reports that blood cultures can be negative in up to 50 percent of cases that are later demonstrated in autopsies.

Patients with cancer, AIDS, or organ transplants are at most risk for serious fungal infections. But no one is guaranteed safety. Because of the difficulty in diagnosis, we all have to be on the lookout for ourselves.

1. Retrovirus XMRV and Chronic Fatigue:

2. Chronic inflammation of the gums:

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I've been suffering from Candida for 30 years now and I'm very glad that at last we this ilness is being taken serious. Thanks.

March 26, 2010 - 10:14am

The immune system can be triggered into action, or overaction, by a large number of agents including virus, fungus, and bacterial infection, and also by allergens. I think it's important to realize that there can be multiple pathogens that produce the same illness, because what we're seeing in many cases is an immune process that continues long after the pathogen is cleared.

Thank you for your comments. I hope you are doing well after ten years of fibro! Please continue to share with us what you learn.

March 26, 2010 - 9:14am
EmpowHER Guest

It's way to early to say that viral or fungal infection is to blame for fibromyalgia and ME/CFS. There was one study that showed a significant presence of XMRV but no fewer than three more sophisticated follow-up studies failed to show similar results.

I'm all for debating this fascinating developments -- frankly, as a ten-year-survivor of fibro and someone who writes about this subject frequently, I'm just glad people are actually researching it at all. I think it's important, though, that we choose words carefully so as to avoid giving the newly diagnosed the wrong impression. This is still a largely unknown disease, and there is no cure yet.

March 26, 2010 - 8:37am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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