Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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It is possible that the main title of the report Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion


Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome is a rare disorder that affects multiple organ systems of the body including the muscles, skin, and lungs. The onset of the disorder is often abrupt and the specific symptoms can vary greatly from one person to another. Common symptoms include muscle pain (myalgia), muscle weakness, cramping, skin rashes, difficulty breathing (dyspnea) and fatigue. Affected individuals have elevated levels of certain white blood cells known as eosinophils in the various tissues of the body, a condition known as eosinophilia. Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome can potentially cause severe, disabling complications and even death.


The eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome occurred as an epidemic in 1989 and occurrence of the syndrome was traced to L-tryptophan produced by one Japanese company, Showa Denko KK. Most individuals who developed eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome had ingested contaminated L-tryptophan, a dietary amino acid supplement often sold in health food stores before being pulled from the market in 1990. However, contaminated L-tryptophan does not account for all cases of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome suggesting that other environmental agents may cause the disorder. Very few cases of EMS have been identified since the 1989 epidemic.

Supporting Organizations

American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED)

PO Box 29545
Atlanta, GA 30359
Tel: (713)493-7749
Fax: (713)493-7749
Website: http://www.apfed.org

Campaign Urging Research for Eosinophilic Disease (CURED)

PO Box 32
Lincolnshire, IL 60069
Tel: (847)361-3292
Email: ellyn@curedfoundation.org
Website: http://www.curedfoundation.org

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1600 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30333
Tel: (404)639-3534
Tel: (800)232-4636
Email: cdcinfo@cdc.gov
Website: http://www.cdc.gov/

NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Information Clearinghouse
One AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675
Tel: (301)495-4484
Fax: (301)718-6366
Tel: (877)226-4267
Email: NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov
Website: http://www.niams.nih.gov/

National Eosinophilia Myalgia Syndrome Network

767 Tower Boulevard
Lorain, OH 44052-5213
Tel: (201)868-9572
Email: nemsnnewseditor@gmail.com; elveevee@aol.com
Website: http://www.NEMSN.org

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report.

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

Last Updated:  10/11/2011
Copyright  2013 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.