CIRS is Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (aka biotoxin Illness, aka mold illness, aka mold toxcity). It is an acute and chronic systemic inflammatory response syndrome acquired following exposure to mold and other biotoxin producers typically from water damaged buildings. CIRS and mold illness are growing at epidemic rates thanks in part to accurate diagnosis of the issue. Most (80%) of CIRS/Mold cases are caused by indoor air contaminated with mold toxins and other inflammagens, but CIRS also includes biotoxin producers like cyanobacteria and a marine dinoflagellate that produces the Ciguatera toxin that is found in certain fish. Recently, there is emerging evidence to support the case of mold illness induced by failed/leaking breast implants and front-loading washing machines.
The inability to process mold/biotoxins (regardless of source of the mold/biotoxin) leads to a series of biochemical alterations called the Biotoxin Pathway. Based on genetics research, we know that 24% of the population has the genetic profile that makes them susceptible to developing a biotoxin or mold-related illness whereas the other 76% of the population will generally be able to detoxity biotoxins and avoid creating the Biotoxin Pathway that leads to multple disease processes.
CIRS and mold exposure symptoms overlap with many other chronic illnesses making diagnosis challenging and leading to missed diagnosis of CIRS. In my practice and in the research, CIRS is frequently misdiagnosed as one or more of the following: Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Lyme disease, Multiple Sclerosis Parkinson’s disease, Menopause/Andropause, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Pain Syndrome, Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and even allergies.
Lyme disease misdiagnosis is particularly common as we have treated a number of patients whose symptoms had been attributed to Lyme Disease but we subsequently were able to confirm a case of CIRS/Mold and have been able to treat them effectively based on the CIRS/Mold diagnosis. Frequently these patients are on long-term (9-18 months) antiobiobics. Patients should be aware that both a 2001 study and a recent 2016 study both show conclusively that long-term treatment with antiobiotics is not effective for treating Lyme Disease. In fact the 2016 sutdy concluded, “In conclusion, the current trial suggests that 14 weeks of antimicrobial therapy does not provide clinical benefit beyond that with shorter-term treatment among patients who present with fatigue or musculoskeletal, neuropsychological, or cognitive disorders that are temporally related to prior Lyme disease or accompanied by positive B. burgdorferi serologic findings”. The full study can be found here, http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1505425#t=article.