Clinical Signs and Symptoms Summary

 

Summary of Symptoms

This page provides a categorial summary of the symptoms produced by this virus when first caught, and in the first few years of the infection.

We focus on: how this virus is actually caught (its mode of transmission), how long it takes for the first symptoms of this virus to appear (the incubation period of the virus), the exact nature of these first symptoms (the early symptoms of an infection are called the prodrome symptoms), how long infected individuals remain contagious to others (this is called the period of communicability), and in an infected individual, how readily this virus transmits to and infects others (its contagiousness).

The viral symptoms and characteristics detailed on this page were catalogued by careful observations on myself, and on more than 30 other people in my social group who were unfortunately infected with this same virus. This set of 30+ people observed includes all ages, both sexes, and various different ethnicities.

Mode of Transmission

The mode of transmission is the means by which an infectious microbe first enters the body (for example: by saliva, by blood, or by insect bite). It is clear that the virus described on this website is transmitted person-to-person via saliva and/or nasal secretions, and that this virus can transmit during close social contact. Furthermore, once one member of a household or workplace is infected with this virus, it has been noted that pretty much all of the other members will catch the virus from them within a year or so. The fact that transmission is not that fast (compared to a cold or influenza virus for example) suggests that not that many viral particles are shed by an infected individual, and/or that these shed viral particles do not survive long in the environment. It has been observed that transmission of this virus often occurs through intimate kissing, and also when sharing food or drinks on the same table (where spittle ejected from an infected person’s mouth may fall on another person’s food).

Incubation Period

The incubation period is the time between catching an infectious pathogen and the arrival of its first symptoms. (Note that the incubation period is slightly different to the latency period, the latter being defined as the time between catching a pathogen and the point when the infected person becomes infectious to others – which is the point that the contagious period begins).

The incubation period of this virus can be VERY fast: it can be as fast as 8 hours, but is typically around 12 hours, and generally less than 24 hours. This has been reliably observed: for several infected people, I knew the exact time of exposure to the virus, and the precise time the first symptoms then appeared. I have observed many cases where I know for sure that exposure to this virus happened sometime during a short evening social event (such as an evening dinner), and the subsequent onset of symptoms (vomiting, or sore throat) arrived either in middle of the night, or early next day. All the people that I observed catching this virus in this way later manifested many of the typical long-term sequelae that this virus causes, in the months and years that followed this first infection. Note that irrespective of whether this infection starts with a sore throat, or with a gastrointestinal upset and vomiting (gastroenteritis), in both cases the incubation period is the same: as fast as 8 hours, but typically around 12 hours, and generally less than 24 hours. This unusually rapid incubation period is a good clue to the identity of this virus.

Note: such a rapid incubation period is found in only a few viruses: influenza B viruses have an incubation period of around 24 hours; enterovirus 70 can have an incubation period as fast as 12 hours; rhinoviruses can have an incubation period as fast as 12 hours; norovirus can have an incubation period as fast as 10 hours. So time-wise these viruses could be candidates for the virus described on this website (the virus I caught); but these viruses are not generally known to form persistent long-term infections, as my virus clearly does.

Prodrome

The prodrome is the nature of the initial symptoms at the beginning of an infection. It has been observed that this viral infection usually starts in one of four ways:-

(1) A sore throat located at the back of the soft palete, on the palatoglossal arch (more towards where this arch meets the tongue on both sides, rather than at the uvula apex of this arch). The infection also develops at the very back of the throat (pharynx), and to a lesser degree in the upper esophagus. The red inflammation (erythema) of this throat infection is clearly discernible on the palatoglossal arch and the pharynx. Inspection of the isthmus faucium area of the pharynx shows both red inflamed skin, and some papules (papules are small raised pimples which are solid rather than fluid-filled and do not produce pus). These papules are slightly elongated rather than round, around 2mm by 1mm in size, and are a slightly whiter shade of red/pink than the surrounding skin. This sore throat looks very similar to a herpangina sore throat, except that in my case, no vesicles (blisters) or ulcers appeared (vesicles and ulcers usually accompany herpangina), only papules. (Note: the name lymphonodular pharyngitis is given to a herpangina-type sore throat where there are only papules; so lymphonodular pharyngitis may be a better description of my sore throat.)

The throat is sore, but with no pain, and very little fever. This throat infection runs for many months before it begins to subside. However it never fully disappears, and usually remains as a chronic sore throat and/or with constant nasal mucus production (although the sore throat becomes a more subdued after a few years). There is an accompanying mild dry cough with little sputum.

(2) Alternatively, the infection can first begin as a gastric upset, with vomiting and diarrhea (in other words, it begins as a viral gastroenteritis or “stomach flu”). In the case of this stomach upset type of prodrome, there is a fever, which lasts for one or two days (unfortunately the fever temperature has not been measured; but it is not unduly high). Significant fatigue is experienced during the fever period. There are no signs of skin rash (at least in the people I observed). The only skin change apparent at this prodrome stage is a slight red flushing, presumed due just to the patient’s temperature.

(3) Sometimes the infection starts with a cluster of lesions and scabs surrounding the facial lips, these lesions looking like large cold sores. In this case, there is also a significant swelling of the lymph nodes in the lower jaw and neck, these swollen lymph nodes easing off after a week or two, as the crusted lesions clear up (these lesions may just be a flare up of pre-existing herpes simplex, as a result of the immunocompromising actions of the chronic sore throat virus; or quite possibly, they may be the oral lesions of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), which is caused by enteroviruses).

(4) Occasionally, this infection can start with just with a viral headache (which can be very intense and can last for two or three days), but no other symptoms (at least initially) other than feeling very irritable, and generally feeling under the weather.

No other prodrome sequences have been noted. NOTE: when the infection begins as a sore throat, a (milder) gastric upset can appear months later. Similarly, when the infection begins as a gastric upset, sore throat can appear weeks later.

Period of Communicability (Contagious Period)

The period of communicability is the time period during which an infected person is infectious to others. The period of communicability is the time period that an infected person is able to transmit their virus to others. For example: in the case of the common cold virus (rhinovirus), this period is the first few days of infection, after which, the body is in recovery from the fever, and the cold virus can no longer be transmitted to others. However, in the case of this chronic sore throat virus, the period of communicability lasts at least a year or so. People with this virus who have a chronic sore throat or constant nasal secretions (which are common symptoms) are able to transmit this virus via the constant source of viral particles shed from the saliva in the mouth and/or from the persistent nasal mucus discharge. I know for sure that I was able to infect someone (via kissing) 15 months after first catching this virus.

The persistent nasal discharge is very characteristic: the constant stuffy nose contains thick, viscous, congested mucus build up. Blowing your nose with a tissue to clear this mucus build-up is necessary every hour or so, and requires a very strong, long blow of the nose to clear out the viscous thick mucus. Once begun, this thick nasal mucus persists indefinitely; it does it start to abate a little after a year or two, but never fully disappears. Exactly the same is true for the sore throat, which persists permanently, but often becoming more subdued in time.

NOTE: some people can have the chronic runny nose without the chronic sore throat, and vice versa. Others have both, and other people have neither. Sometimes in infected person will experience a recurrent sore throat, where the throat will clear up for a day or two, but then quickly return. These constant nasopharyngeal symptoms are characteristic, and their persistence means the period of communicability of this virus lasts at least a year or two, perhaps even indefinitely. From my observation, some approximate statistics: about ⅔ of people with this virus display a chronic stuffy / runny nose, and about ⅓ get the chronic sore throat.

Contagiousness

The contagiousness is how easily an infectious pathogen passes to other people (also called transmission rate). Even though the virus described on this website may have an indefinitely long period of communicability (as a result of its chronic respiratory infection), and even though its incubation period is extremely rapid, by contrast, this virus is not highly contagious. Its person-to-person transmission rate is in fact relatively low. This can be easily deduced from the observation that once one person in a household has caught this virus, it can take over a year before all members of the household have caught it. I have observed this on multiple occasions, in several households.

However, though this virus is only mildly contagious, its communicable period (contagious period) lasts for a long time, at least a year or so (and perhaps even indefinitely). This is why this virus does spread to a lot of people: although it is only weakly contagious, its period of communicability is lengthy, so that there are ample opportunities for it to eventually infect everyone around.

One way this virus can rapidly pass to a person outside the household is when meeting an acquaintance for say lunch or dinner, and having lots of animated conversation while eating on the same table. I have noticed that this tends to pass on the virus. This is almost certainly from oral ejections of tiny globules of spittle that naturally happens during laughing and loud talking. This spittle may land on the table on other person’s food or drink, and then get eaten. Intimate or deep kissing is another way this virus is quite easily transmitted, if the first infected person has the chronic nasopharyngeal infection.

Mental State Changes

About 2 months after the initial prodrome, powerful mental state changes may begin (depression, fatigue, apathy, loss of motivation, anhedonia, dysthymia, loss of motivation, social withdrawal, a sense of sleepiness, mild dementia, some memory problems, loss of organizational capabilities).

In some people, uncharacteristic outbursts of aggression appear. The severity of the mental state changes varies considerably from person to person: some people are badly affected, others just minimally affected. What is clear is that the mental symptoms, while they do improve a little, linger permanently. Even in those people not particularly badly affected by this virus, episodes of depression, sometimes for days, sometimes protracted over months, seem to be common, even in those sturdy people that had never experienced depression before.

Occasionally, mental state changes can appear straight away on catching this virus, during the first few days of the infection. In this case, though, the mental state changes significantly abate a few days later.

Pins and Needles

About 4 months after the initial prodrome, a “pins and needles” sensation (paresthesias) appears in some people. This tends to be more in the legs, but will often manifest throughout the whole body. Some people with this virus say these pins and needles sensations are located just under the skin; other people say that they are in their muscles. They are transient paresthesias: they come and go.

Receding Gums: Periodontal Disease

Also at 4 months, receding gums and a rapid sudden onset of periodontal disease arises in many people. Dental plaque formation and deposition significantly increases. There may even be new dental caries (tooth decay) suddenly appearing, even for people with excellent oral hygiene habits.

Skin Wrinkling

About 12 to 18 months after the initial prodrome, the first signs of fine skin wrinkling are noticed. This closely spaced wrinkling has a texture reminiscent of crêpe paper. These premature skin aging wrinkles start to appear at first on the top of the hands, but the whole body is soon involved. The wrinkled skin produced by this virus looks different in appearance to the look of normal skin aging. For one thing, these virally-precipitated wrinkles are much finer than normal aging wrinkles, with this unusual crêpe paper-like appearance. Also, as we know, normal skin aging happens quite slowly – in normal aging, significant changes in skin appearance are noticeable as the decades go by, not as a year goes by. By contrast, the aging skin process that arises from catching this virus manifests more rapidly, with significant skin changes noticeable within a year or two.

The degree of wrinkling this virus causes varies from person to person. Older people (55+) have a greater, and a more rapid increase in body wrinkles, and exhibit slightly deeper wrinkle furrows. Younger people (30 to 55 years) have slightly more shallow furrows. In both cases, however, the wrinkles have this characteristic very fine texture, with crêpe paper-like appearance that are distinct from normal aging wrinkles. People under about 30 or so will tend not to show any of these wrinkles, presumably because their younger skin is more robust in countering the skin-damaging effect of this virus.

Weak Legs and Pelvic Girdle Laxity

Also at 12 to 18 months, the first signs of mild muscle weakness and looseness appear. The muscle weakness/looseness is primarily located in the the proximal muscles (the muscles in, or closest to, the core of the body). The pelvic girdle muscles (the lower proximal muscles) are most affected; the shoulder muscles are affected to a lesser degree.

Proximal muscle weakness is the characteristic of the diseases of polymyositis and dermatomyositis. Polymyositis and dermatomyositis generally affect the muscles in the thighs and hips to begin with, but then progress to all the proximal muscles. However, those infected with this virus who developed this mild lower proximal muscle weakness have not had any further disease progression over the years, so if this is polymyositis or dermatomyositis, it is certainly a mild, benign and non-progressing form of this disease.

Polymyositis and dermatomyositis are chronic inflammatory myopathy diseases, and have been linked to coxsackievirus B (as well as parvovirus B19, HIV and HTLV-I). Interestingly, lower proximal muscle weakness (hind limb weakness) was found in mice with polymyositis caused by the Tucson strain of coxsackievirus B1. 1 2 Polymyositis and dermatomyositis are thought to be autoimmune diseases in which T cells attack the muscle tissue. 1 2

Heliotrope Rash on Chest, and Newly Appearing Seborrheic Warts

After 2 or 3 years with this virus, further skin symptoms appear. In myself and several other people with this virus, the skin on the upper chest area, just under the neck (corresponding to the skin area exposed when wearing a V-neck jumper) may develop a red/pink rash, and the skin texture in this area gets thicker and oily/waxy. The color of this upper chest rash is that of a heliotrope rash.

This chest rash looks just like the the so-called V-sign of dermatomyositis. Thus along with my pelvic girdle muscle weakness, my V-sign heliotrope rash perhaps support the idea that the virus described on this website is causing something akin to a mild, benign version dermatomyositis.

In addition, seborrheic keratosis (seborrheic warts) may appear on the skin: these are benign brown spots looking similar to moles. See this picture I took of one the seborrheic keratosis spots that appeared on my skin. My seborrheic keratosis was diagnosed by a dermatologist.