Fibromyalgia, infection and vaccination: Two more parts in the etiological puzzle
As the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia continues to raise debate, multiple putative triggers have been implicated. The current review summarizes the available data linking fibromyalgia to either infection or vaccination. Multiple infectious agents have been associated with the development of either full-blown fibromyalgia (e.g. hepatits C), or with symptom complexes extensively overlapping with that syndrome (e.g. chronic Lyme disease). The cases of Lyme disease, mycoplasma, hepatits C and HIV are detailed. Despite the described associations, no evidence is available demonstrating the utility of antibiotic or anti-viral treatment in the management of fibromyalgia. Possible mechanistic links between fibromyalgia and HIV are reviewed. Associations have been described between various vaccinations and symptom complexes including fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. The case of Gulf War syndrome, a functional multisystem entity sharing many clinical characteristics with fibromyalgia is discussed, with emphasis on the possibility of association with administration of multiple vaccinations during deployment in the Persian Gulf and the interaction with stress and trauma. Based on this example a model is proposed, wherein vaccinations function as co-triggers for the development of functional disorders including fibromyalgia, in conjunction with additional contributing factors.