Monday, July 5, 2010


California resident Joan Irvine came down with ME/CFS the day after a blood transfusion during surgery to repair a shattered hip and thigh in 1987.  She sought treatment with Dr. Daniel Peterson.  Seeking answers, she wrote in 1992 to Dr. William Reeves, who was already heading up research into this disease at the CDC, as well as Dr. George Rutherford, then chief of the infectious disease branch of the California Department of Health.  Both men advised against donating blood. 

Two readers sent in Irvine's letters to Reeves and Rutherford today, as well as her synopsis of the events.  You can read them here:

Irvine’s ME/CFS case was virulent, and she committed suicide in 1996.

NEXT:  What happened with the FDA/NIH study, and patients' call to action.


  1. This is shocking. The CDC's handling of CFS affects the American population but also the population of many other countries who's medical authorities look to the CDC for answers on this matter. The letters are resurfacing in a very timely manner. I hope newspapers pick up on it. CDC's denial has got to stop, or be stopped! I didn't come down with CFS after a transfusion but if I did and we soon have actual scientific proof I would be FURIOUS. All the bullshit has got to come to an end!!!

    A 15 year patient CFS patient

  2. I would advise Ms. Irvine's family, if they are comfortable with it, to consider exhuming her body or contacting the coroner office (I understand autopsies are required for suicides) to get tissue samples. Emory University did studies on monkeys and found XMRV in the tissues. I am not a pathologist though and thus do not know if after 14 years, viruses would still be able to be detected.

  3. I knew Ms. Irvine while working on CFIDS Activism (WECAN) in the mid 1990's. She was passionate about finding a cure. Passionate about getting her life back. And demanded answers for her sudden illness and could trace it back to a blood transfusion during surgery.

    Her family is the first to contact, but I can assure you that she would have done anything to find the cause, the cure, and most of all, respect for all ME.CFIDS patients.

    She could no longer fight, so we took up her banner and let it wave until some of us, could no longer fight for us all. Some have continued to fight, bless them. She is very much in our hearts, minds, as 14 years later the politics of science continues to abuse the very patients that seek its help.


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