Is the truth out there?

This page is a catalog of controversial issues regarding CFS. I don't know that any of the claims described below are true, but they may not be untrue either. Be careful in what you choose to believe. And don't assume that those who deny all the claims made below necessarily know everything.

I welcome adding new material on these topics, and opposing points of view. Contact me by e-mail at

-- Roger Burns



What you don't know about CFS, AIDS, HHV-6 and other medical research

Neenyah Ostrom (see her biography) is an avant-garde investigative reporter for the New York Native weekly newspaper. Since 1988 she has published a weekly column and authored three books about alternative theories of AIDS etiology and government cover-ups of medical research. She and her publisher Chuck Ortleb claim that AIDS and CFS are two sides of the same phenomenon, possibly linked through HHV-6, or mycoplasma, or other microbes. Many PWCs are concerned that an unwarranted link to AIDS makes CFS seem unnecessarily scary, since CFS is not generally known to be terminal. In the eyes of established medical scientists, the role of these microbes, if any, in relation the several diseases discussed is not clear.

Major collections of Ostrom's articles

Specific articles

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Stealth virus associated with both CFS and monkeys

Dr. Martin's work has been published in peer-reviewed medical journals and so his supporters may feel he should not be viewed as being outside of the mainstream, but he has nonetheless generated controversy. Dr. Martin has found a microbe in the blood of a CFS patient which he has named "the Stealth virus". Its DNA structure appears similar to a monkey virus, and it also seems that it can be transferred between humans and cats. These findings suggest a link to other issues such as SV40 and the politico-medical ideas of Dr. Leonard Horowitz (see below).

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Emerging Viruses -- Nature, Accident or Genocide?

Dr. Leonard Horowitz has examined the evidence about the origin of AIDS and other emerging illnesses and has found that the facts do not strongly support a natural origin for these diseases, and that other, more convincing evidence suggests that they were developed in military laboratories and thereafter infected the public. (To see how this may relate to CFS, go to the sections on Donald Scott and Dr. Martin.) He presented a paper about this to the 1996 AIDS conference, and he has now published a hardcover book on this subject.

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Have vaccines created disease?
The monkey-virus / polio-vaccine controversy

Some reports indicate that for decades polio vaccines may have been contaminated with Simian Virus 40, which may in turn have caused diseases in humans. See the links below.

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Biological warfare agents and CFS / Gulf War Syndrome

Donald Scott has written and published a book which traces in detail the history of American biological warfare and how it relates to CFS and Gulf War Syndrome. Documents indicate the development of two specific kinds of viruses for warfare, one fatal (which Scott believes to be AIDS) and one disabling (which Scott believes to be CFS). The book is 200 pages, plus appendices. The introduction is written by Dr. Garth Nicolson, noted medical researcher of Gulf War Syndrome.

 The Extremely Unfortunate Skull Valley Incident
 by Donald Scott
 Chelmsford Publishers
 Suite 405
 190 Mountain Street
 Sudbury, Ontario  P3B4G2
    Canadian orders             USA orders
 (in Canadian dollars)     (in American dollars)
 ---------------------     ---------------------

   Price:    $19.65            Price:    $16.95
   Shipping:   3.00         Shipping:      2.00
   Total:    $22.65            Total:    $18.95

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Author of Osler's Web chronicles and condemns
scientists' failure to meet the challenge of CFS

A new book by journalist/patient Hillary Johnson (published in March 1996) chronicles the actions of public health officials and scientists in dealing with CFS, and finds great fault with the slowness of meeting this challenge. Johnson's weighty 736-page book is titled "Osler's Web: Inside the Labyrinth of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Epidemic". Its tone and format have been compared by many reviewers to "And the Band Played On", the narrative by the late journalist Randy Shilts which chronicled the checkered response of public health officials to the AIDS crisis.

Johnson has written what appears to be a comprehensive history of how government officials and scientists in the USA have dealt CFS in the late 1980s through the early 1990s. Among its many claims, the author makes the case that CFS is an organic and contagious illness, and yet despite evidence supporting this *and* specific directives from Congress, government scientists have tacitly but firmly put this challenge aside, effectively refusing for many years to research this illness. Johnson argues that promising research such as that by Paul Cheney and Elaine DeFreitas has been set aside and opposed by medical officials.

"Osler's Web" also documents the seriousness and severity of CFS, and how the current name "chronic fatigue syndrome" blocks progress towards legitimizing this illness among medical professionals and the public. The book is named after Sir William Osler MD who promoted the notion that good medical science follows from gathering evidence by directly observing patients.

Hillary Johnson is a professional journalist who has been published in many periodicals including Life, Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, and Rolling Stone magazine. She fell ill with CFS in 1986.

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Again, I welcome adding new material on these topics, and opposing points of view. Send your suggestions by e-mail to

Also note these other important CFS information resources:

[CFS / M.E. Information page]    [CFS Frequently Asked Questions]    [CFS Quick Index]

This page is maintained by Roger Burns of Washington, D.C.