ME/CFS outbreaks

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is often associated with outbreaks. This leads to the firm belief among many researchers and patient groups that the illness is, at least in its initial forms, a contagious virus or triggered by one or more such viruses.

Especially in early documented cases, the name of the condition varies significantly, even in cases where it is believed by the people attending to it at the time to be a form of polio.

Clusters of symptoms also vary between outbreaks.

Outbreaks in chronological order

1934

  • Los Angeles County Hospital
Responsible for the term Atypical Poliomyelitis[1]
198 people infected, including all doctors and nurses[2]

1936

  • St Anges Convent, Fond-du-Lac, Wisconsin
Referred to as Encephalitis[1]
53 people infected, all novices and convent candidates[2]

1937

  • Erstfeld, Switzerland and Frohburg, Switzerland
Referred to as Abortive Poliomyelitis[1]
158 people infected[2]

1939

  • Harefield Sanatorium in Middlesex, England
Referrred to as "Persitent myalgia following sore throat"[1]
7 hospital staff infected[2]
  • Switzerland
Referred to as Abortive Poliomyelitis[1]
73 soldiers infected[2]

1945

  • University Hospital of Pennsylvania
Referred to as "pleurodynia with prominent neurological symptoms and no demonstrable cause"[1]

1946

  • Iceland in 1946 and 1947
Referred to as "Mixed epidemics of poliomyelitis and a disease resembling poliomyelitis with the character of the Akureyri Disease"[1]

1948

  • Three north coast towns in Iceland in 1948-1949
Referred to as "A disease epidemic in Iceland simulating Poliomyelitis"[1]
1090 people infected[2]

1949

  • Adelaide, South Australia in 1949-1951
Referred to as resembling poliomyelitis.[1]
800 people infected[2]

1950

  • Louisville, Kentuky in 1950
Later confirmed as Epidemic Neuromyasthenia.[1]
37 nursing students infected[2]
  • Upper New York State
Referred to as resembling Iceland Disease simulating Acute Anterior Poliomyelitis.[1]
19 people infected[2]

1952

  • Middlesex Hospital Nurse's Home in London, England, 1952
Referred to as Encephalomyelitis associated with Poliomyelitis Virus[1]
14 nursing students infected[2]
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
Referred to as Epidemic Myositis[1]
More than 70 people infected[2]
  • Lakeland, Florida
Identified as Epidemic Neuromyasthenia[1]
27 people infected[2]

1953

  • Coventry District, England
Referred to as "An illness resembling Poliomyelitis"[1]
13 people infected[2]
  • Rockville, Maryland at Chestnut Lodge Hospital
referred to as Poliomyelitis-like Epidemic Neuromyasthenia.[1]
50 people infected[2]
  • Jutland, Denmark
referred to as "Epidemic Encephalitis with Vertigo."[1]

1954

  • Tallahassee, Florida[1]
450 people infected[2]
  • Seward, Alaska
Referred to as Benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (Iceland Disease)[1]
175 people infected[2]
  • British Army stationed in Berlin, Germany
Referred to as a "further outbreak of a disease resembling poliomyelitis."[1]
7 people infected[2]
  • Liverpool, England at Liverpool Hospital[1]
  • Johannesburg, South Africa, through 1955
14 people infected[2]

1955

  • Dalston, Cumbria, England[1]
  • London, England at the Royal Free Hospital
Responsible for the terms Benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis[1]
300 hospital staff infected[2]
  • Perth, Western Australia
Referred to as "Virus Epidemic in Recurrent Waves"[1]
  • Gilfach Goch, Wales
Referred to as Benign Encephalomyelitis[1]
  • Durban City, South Africa at Addington Hospital
Referred to as "The Durban Mystery Disease"[1]
140 people infected[2]
  • Segbwema, Sierra Leone through 1956
Referred to as An outbreak of encephalomyelitis[1]
  • Patreksfordur and Thorshofn, Iceland
Referred to as Unusual response to poliomyelitis vaccination[1]
  • North West London, England at a residential home for nurses
Referred to as acute infective encephalomyelitis simulating poliomyelitis[1]

1956

  • Ridgefield, Connecticut, United States
Referred to as an epidemic of neuromyasthenia[1]
70 people infected[2]
  • Punta Gorda, Florida, United States
Referred to as Epidemic Neuromyasthenia[1][3][4]
124 people infected[2]
  • Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, England
Referred to as "lymphocytic meningo-encephalitis with myalgia and rash"[1]
  • Pittsfield and Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States
Referred to as Epidemic Neuromyasthenia[1]
  • Coventry, England through 1957
Referred to as Epidemic Malaise and Benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis[1]
7 people infected[2]

1957

  • Brighton, South Australia
Referred to as Benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Coxsackie, Echo Virus Meningitis, Epidemic Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, and Mylagic Encephalomyelitis[1]

1958

  • Athens, Greece, in a nursing school[1]
27 nursing students infected[2]

1959

  • Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Referred to as Benign Myalgic Encephalomylitis[1]

1961

  • A New York State convent (United States)
Referred to as Epidemic Neuromyasthenia[1]

1964

  • Northwestern London, England through 1966
Referred to as Epidemic Malaise and Epidemic Neuromyasthenia[1]
  • A Franklin, Kentucky factory in the United States
Referred to as Neurmyasthenia[1]

1965

  • Galveston County, Texas, United States through 1966
Referred to as an Epidemic Neuromyasthenia Variant and Epidemic Diencephalomyelitis[1]

1968

  • Fraidek, Lebanon
Referred to as Benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis[1]

1969

  • State University of New York Medical Centre, United States
Referred to as Epidemic Neuromyasthenia and as an unidentified symptom complex[1]

1970

  • Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, United States[1]
  • London, England at the Hospital for Sick Children on Great Oromond Street
Referred to as Epidemic Neuromyasthenia[1]

1975

200 hospital staff infected[2]

1977

  • Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Referred to as Epidemic Neuromyasthenia[1]

1979

  • Southampton, England at a girls' school
Referred to as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis[1]

1980

  • West Kilbridge, Ayrshire, Scotland through 1981
Referred to as Myagic Encephalomyelitis[1]
  • Helensburgh, Scotland through 1983
Referred to as Coxsackie[1]

1982

  • West Otago, New Zealand through 1984
Referred to as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis[1]
More than 20 people infected[2]

1983

  • Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia
Referred to as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis[5][6]

1984

  • Incline Village in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, United States
Responsible for the term Chronic Fatigue Syndrome[1]
  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States affecting the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra
Referred to as LNKS[1]
  • Montreal, Quebec and Ontario, Canada[1]
  • Truckee, California through 1985[1]

1985

  • Lyndonville, New York, United States[1]
  • Yerington, Nevada, United States at a reservation[1]

1986

  • Placerville, California, United States
Later referred to as an "outbreak of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome"[1]

1988

  • Columbia Community College and Sonora, California[1]

1989

  • Rosedale Hopital, Roseville, California[1]

1990

  • Elk Grove, California[1]


References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 1.41 1.42 1.43 1.44 1.45 1.46 1.47 1.48 1.49 1.50 1.51 1.52 1.53 1.54 1.55 1.56 1.57 1.58 1.59 1.60 Byron M. Hyde (1992). The Clinical and scientific basis of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. Ogdensburg, N.Y: Nightingale Research Foundation. pp. X. ISBN 0969566204.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 Roberto Patarca-Montero (2004). Medical Etiology, Assessment, and Treatment of Chronic Fatigue and Malaise. Haworth Press. pp. 6–7. ISBN 078902196X.
  3. Clement WB, Gorda P, Henderson DA, Lawrence JW, Bond JO. (October), ""Epidemic neuromyasthenia, an outbreak in Punta Gorda, Florida; an illness resembling Iceland disease"", The Journal of the Florida Medical Association, pp. 422–6 Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  4. Poskanzer DC, Henderson DA, Kuncle C, Kalter SS, Clement WB, Bond JO (22 August), ""Epidemic neuromyasthenia; an outbreak in Punta Gorda, Florida"", The New England journal of medicine, pp. 356–64 Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  5. Johnston, Elizabeth (Mon. Feb. 6, 1984), ""Town striken by mystery disease"", The Australian, p. 3 Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. Vol 12, No 42 (February 26), ""BME challenge and mystery"", North West and Hunter Valley Magazine, pp. 1, 2, 6 Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)

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