Concurrent sick building syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome: epidemic neuromyasthenia revisited

Clin Infect Dis. 1994 Jan;18 Suppl 1:S43-8. doi: 10.1093/clinids/18.supplement_1.s43.

Abstract

Sick building syndrome (SBS) is usually characterized by upper respiratory complaints, headache, and mild fatigue. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness with defined criteria including extreme fatigue, sore throat, headache, and neurological symptoms. We investigated three apparent outbreaks of SBS and observed another more serious illness (or illnesses), characterized predominantly by severe fatigue, that was noted by 9 (90%) of the 10 teachers who frequently used a single conference room at a high school in Truckee, California; 5 (23%) of the 22 responding teachers in the J wing of a high school in Elk Grove, California; and 9 (10%) of the 93 responding workers from an office building in Washington, D.C. In those individuals with severe fatigue, symptoms of mucous membrane irritation that are characteristic of SBS were noted but also noted were neurological complaints not typical of SBS but quite characteristic of CFS. We conclude that CFS is often associated with SBS.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution, Indoor*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • District of Columbia / epidemiology
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / etiology*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Substances

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational