Post-Mono CFS in Teen Girls

By K. Kimberly McCleary
President & CEO of the Solve ME/CFS Initiative from 1991-2013


Drs. Ben Katz and Gordon Broderick

Ben Z. Katz, M.D., of Northwestern University has just published results from a study of teens who were followed for two years after the onset of acute infection with Epstein-Barr virus (mononucleosis). The article is published in the July 2009 issue of Pediatrics. Criteria for CFS were met by 13 percent of adolescents at 6 months after acute infection. Seven percent remained ill at 12 months, and 4 percent met CFS criteria at 24 months. With time, most adolescents recovered. Only 2 adolescents with CFS at 24 months seemed to have recovered or had an explanation for CFS at 12 months, but then were reclassified as having CFS at 24 months.

All 13 adolescents who had CFS 24 months after onset of mononucleosis were girls. Compared with those who did not have CFS at 24 months, they reported greater fatigue severity at 12 months. Corticosteroid treatment during the acute phase of mononucleosis was not associated with an increased risk for the development of CFS.

This study was funded by NIH and its principal investigator is Renee Taylor, PhD, at University of Illinois-Chicago. Dr. Katz and Dr. Taylor are also collaborating with Association-funded researcher Gordon Broderick, PhD, who is studying the same patient group to understand differences between those who recovered from mono and those who remained ill at various time points.

An article about the study was circulated by Reuters. Medscape News also reported on the publication. You can also find continuing education courses about CFS on Medscape to share with your healthcare professional, including the one sponsored by the Solve ME/CFS Initiative that has attracted more than 243,000 page views when it went live in October 2008.


Katz BZ, Shiraishi Y, Mears CJ, Binns HJ, Taylor R. Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois 60614, USA. Chronic fatigue syndrome after infectious mononucleosis in adolescents. Pediatrics. 2009 Jul;124(1):189-93.


July 30, 2009