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Coronavirus And ME: Doctors Fear Wave Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Saturday 27 June 2020
Coronavirus and ME: doctors fear wave of chronic fatigue syndrome
The little-understood disease CFS/ME is often triggered by viral infections
As the UK’s daily death tolls fall and the immediate threat of Covid-19 recedes, doctors are warning that the outbreak may lead to a long-term surge in cases of a debilitating and untreatable disease.
Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or CFS/ME, is an “illness with a wide range of symptoms”, says the NHS. The most common symptom “is feeling extremely tired and generally unwell”, it adds.
The condition “is usually lifelong and often devastating”, says The Washington Post. “Up to 25% of ME/CFS patients are housebound or bedbound for years.”
While the disease is not well understood, one potential cause is a change in the “immune system and the way it responds to infection”, says the US Centres for Disease Control.
Several viruses are known to trigger it in some of the people they infect. “Clusters of ME/CFS have followed many infectious outbreaks,” says The Atlantic. “In a study of 233 Hong Kong residents who survived the Sars epidemic of 2003, about 40% had chronic-fatigue problems after three years or so.”
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