I'm a survivor of the 1985 Lake Tahoe epidemic, a graduate of Truckee High School, and a Holmes et al "CFS definition patient-study group" participant as a prototype for the new syndrome of "CFS"
We have had a few more minor outbreaks since then, but nothing like the huge "Mystery Illness" incident that sickened thousands of people.
This strange illness is full of bizarre contradictions.
At times spreading like wildfire through groups of closely associated people, yet with people from these very groups seemingly unable to transmit it to anyone else.
I saw a pattern immediately. A strange "exception to the rules" in which the flu-like illness turned from noninfectious to wildly contagious.
The contagion occurred when people in the early "shedding phase" of viral illness were all in the presence of moldy buildings, particularly ones with Stachybotrys Chartarum.
Only then, was the disease easily passed from one to another.
The Truckee "teachers lounge" incident that caused Dr Peterson to call the CDC, starting the path to the new syndrome, is a very well described example of this process.
I contacted the teachers at Elk Grove, and they found the very same "toxic mold" that we in Truckee did.
The clues are right there. Simply ask yourself, "If this were a purely viral illness, then why did the one teacher who made the effort to get out of that lounge manage to avoid becoming ill?"
Clin Infect Dis. 1994 Jan;18 Suppl 1:S43-8.
Concurrent sick building syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome: epidemic neuromyasthenia revisited.
Chester AC, Levine PH.
Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
Sick building syndrome (SBS) is usually characterized by upper respiratory complaints, headache, and mild fatigue. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness with defined criteria including extreme fatigue, sore throat, headache, and neurological symptoms. We investigated three apparent outbreaks of SBS and observed another more serious illness (or illnesses), characterized predominantly by severe fatigue, that was noted by 9 (90%) of the 10 teachers who frequently used a single conference room at a high school in Truckee, California; 5 (23%) of the 22 responding teachers in the J wing of a high school in Elk Grove, California; and 9 (10%) of the 93 responding workers from an office building in Washington, D.C. In those individuals with severe fatigue, symptoms of mucous membrane irritation that are characteristic of SBS were noted but also noted were neurological complaints not typical of SBS but quite characteristic of CFS. We conclude that CFS is often associated with SBS.
PMID: 8148452 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]