Detection of Mycotoxins in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Plaza Infectious Disease and St. Luke’s Hospital, 4320 Wornall Road, Suite 440, Kansas City, MO 64111, USA
Citrus Heights, CA 95610, USA
Department of Immunology and Molecular Microbiology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX 79430, USA
California State University, Northridge, CA 91330, USA
RealTime Laboratories, Carrollton, TX 75010, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 March 2013; in revised form: 1 April 2013 / Accepted: 3 April 2013 / Published: 11 April 2013
Over the past 20 years, exposure to mycotoxin producing mold has been recognized as a significant health risk. Scientific literature has demonstrated mycotoxins as possible causes of human disease in water-damaged buildings (WDB). This study was conducted to determine if selected mycotoxins could be identified in human urine from patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Patients (n = 112) with a prior diagnosis of CFS were evaluated for mold exposure and the presence of mycotoxins in their urine. Urine was tested for aflatoxins (AT), ochratoxin A (OTA) and macrocyclic trichothecenes (MT) using Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISA). Urine specimens from 104 of 112 patients (93%) were positive for at least one mycotoxin (one in the equivocal range). Almost 30% of the cases had more than one mycotoxin present. OTA was the most prevalent mycotoxin detected (83%) with MT as the next most common (44%). Exposure histories indicated current and/or past exposure to WDB in over 90% of cases. Environmental testing was performed in the WDB from a subset of these patients. This testing revealed the presence of potentially mycotoxin producing mold species and mycotoxins in the environment of the WDB. Prior testing in a healthy control population with no history of exposure to a WDB or moldy environment (n = 55) by the same laboratory, utilizing the same methods, revealed no positive cases at the limits of detection.