Pain in adolescent chronic fatigue following Epstein-Barr virus infection.

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Objectives Acute Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is a trigger of Chronic Fatigue (CF) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate pain symptoms and pressure pain thresholds in fatigued and non-fatigued adolescents six months after acute EBV-infection, and in healthy controls. This study is part of the CEBA-project (CF following acute EBV infection in adolescents). Methods A total of 195 adolescents (12-20 years old) that had undergone an acute EBV infection six months prior to assessment were divided into fatigued (EBV CF+) and non-fatigued (EBV CF-) cases based on questionnaire score. The EBV CF+ cases were further sub-divided according to case definitions of CFS. In addition, a group of seventy healthy controls was included. Symptoms were mapped with questionnaires. Pressure pain thresholds were measured through pressure algometry. One way ANOVA were used for between-group analyses. Linear regression analyses were used to explore associations between Pediatric Quality of Life (dependent variable), pain symptoms and other variables within the EBV (CF+) group. Results The EBV CF+ group had significantly higher scores for pain symptoms as compared with the EBV CF- group and healthy controls, but pressure pain threshold did not differ significantly. The number of pain symptoms as well as pain severity were strongly and independently associated with quality of life. Conclusions CF and CFS following acute EBV-infection in adolescents is characterized by high pain symptom burden, which in turn is associated with a decline in quality of life. Pain in CF and CFS is of considerable clinical importance, and should be a focal point for further investigation and intervention in these patient groups.

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