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Mouse virus doesn't cause chronic fatigue syndrome

Two years ago, people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) had hope that the cause of their mental and physical exhaustion, muscle pain and overwhelming tiredness had at last been found. Vincent Lombardi at the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, Nevada, found a mouse virus called xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus (XMRV) in blood samples from 68 of 101 people with the syndrome, compared with just eight of 218 samples from healthy blood donors.

Now, two new studies seriously undermine this finding, suggesting it arose from contamination of the samples that contained the virus. New Scientist tries to untangle the debate.

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