The XMRV Discovery Series
Because scientists have only known about this particular retrovirus for a few years, they still have a lot to learn about it. However, so far it appears that it could be transmitted through the blood. It is unknown if the virus is present in or is transmissible through other body fluids, such as semen or breast milk.
We don't know that for sure, but that's what researchers believe at the moment.
The biggest issue in my mind is that this retrovirus could be in the blood supply, transmitted to people during surgery or treatment for trauma, when the body is already in a weakened state. Will this become one more thing blood banks and hospitals test blood for?
When it comes to all of those fluids, I have to wonder if they account for the increased risk in family members of people with these conditions. It's generally believed there's a genetic predisposition, and if parents are unknowingly passing both the genes and XMRV to their children . . . are those children ticking time bombs, just waiting for other triggering factors to hit?
If you have chronic fatigue syndrome or another XMRV-related condition, should you take special precautions with your sexual partners, even if you're in a committed relationship? Should you opt for not breastfeeding your children? Should you not even have children?
These are big questions that each of us will have to answer for ourselves. Hopefully, we'll have a lab test before too long that will tell us whether we carry the virus, and that will be a big help. Until then, it's something to keep in mind.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Outbreaks
One of the many points of contention between a large group of chronic fatigue syndrome researchers and the CDC is reported outbreaks of chronic fatigue syndrome. They date back a few decades, and the CDC has always said there was insufficient evidence to confirm that they were true outbreaks of infectious disease.
Researchers and advocates are now pointing to this study, which includes evidence that XMRV is transmissible, as the smoking gun -- yes, chronic fatigue syndrome IS viral, and yes, we HAVE had outbreaks. It'll be interesting to see how, or even if, the CDC reacts to this research.
Do you think this will be a wake-up call to the CDC? Will you take precautions to keep from spreading XMRV to people in your life? Do you believe you've been part of an outbreak, or transmitted XMRV to someone? Leave your comments below!
Also See: The XMRV Discovery Series
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