Purpose of review: To review the recent epidemiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of postinfectious chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in adolescents.
Recent findings: Thirteen percent of adolescents (mainly women) met the criteria for CFS 6 months following infectious mononucleosis; the figure was 7% at 12 months and 4% at 24 months. Peak work capacity, activity level, orthostatic intolerance, salivary cortisol, and natural killer cell number and function were similar between adolescents with CFS following infectious mononucleosis and recovered controls. Autonomic system, oxygen consumption, peak oxygen pulse, psychological and cytokine network differences were documented between those who recovered and those who did not.
Summary: The prognosis of CFS is better in adolescents than in adults. Activity level, exercise tolerance, and orthostatic testing could not distinguish patients with CFS from adolescents who have recovered from infectious mononucleosis (controls), while certain cytokine network analyses, life stress factors, and autonomic symptoms could.