Enteroviruses have been proposed to cause an immune complex disease in the chronic fatigue syndrome. Altogether 34 patients with the chronic fatigue syndrome, according to criteria of the Centers for Disease Control, USA, were studied evenly over the seasons for the possible presence of a chronic enterovirus infection. In 11 patients, 1-5 faecal samples were collected at about 6 month intervals for virus isolation before and after acid treatment, followed by ultracetrifugation at pH 3 to dissolve possible enterovirus-antibody complexes. Another 14 fecal samples were subjected to routine virus isolation alone. Seven pairs of serum-cerebrospinal fluid samples were analysed for cross-reactive IgG antibody activity to enteroviruses. In 29 patients a muscle biopsy was collected for enterovirus polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We were unable to identify enteroviruses in any of these samples by any of these techniques. Our study does not confirm evidence for persistent enterovirus infection in the chronic fatigue syndrome.