New York: Don’t breathe easy if you have recovered from coronavirus. There are other side effects that may follow. You can fall ill again even after recovering from coronavirus. Researchers have said that people who have recovered from COVID-19 may experience severe fatigue syndromes.
Chronic fatigue syndrome
At times viral infections do lead to long-term fatigue problems. There are many cases which bear testimony to this fact. There have been instances when people have experienced chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) after viral infections. This disease is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).
People who have developed CFS/ME experience extreme fatigue and a range of other symptoms. They suffer from body pain and sensitivity to light, but why such symptoms occur is still not clear.
So naturally the though comes to mind regarding the side effects of coronavirus, whether it can lead to similar fatigue syndromes? There is a possibility it can happen.
Effect of SARS virus
Some of the people who were infected by the SARS virus in Toronto, Canada in 2002 and 2003 experienced fatigue symptoms. They also suffered from muscle weakness and sleep problems for a substantial period of time, even as long as three years.
During Toronto’s SARS outbreak, 273 people were diagnosed with the infection. Forty-four of these patients died.
However, more importantly there were 22 others who developed other problems that prevented them from going back to work. Psychiatrist and sleep therapist Harvey Moldofsky of the University of Toronto was asked to study these cases. He was asked to identify the problems that prevented the 22 from resuming work.
Moldofsky’s team published the results of the research in 2011. The researchers found that the 22 suffered from disturbed sleep, daytime fatigue, pain and weakness in muscles all over their body. They also were very depressed all the time. “These symptoms were very reminiscent of CFS/ME,” Moldofsky wrote in the report.
Moldofsky and his team however, just studied eight per cent of the people who had the SARS virus infections. So the exact number of persons who suffered from fatigue syndrome was never known. Also no one knew how to cure the symptoms which SARS patients showed.
The COVID-19 pandemic is caused by a different virus. But it is a member of the same coronavirus family which caused SARS. So Moldofsky is of the opinion that the virus may also cause a post-viral fatigue syndrome.
Moldofsky’s views have been supported by other doctors too. They are sure that the many patients who have recovered from coronavirus will suffer from CFS syndrome.
“We don’t know about corona, but I think it will lead to many, many cases of post-infective fatigue syndrome,” said Simon Wessely, former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
“There is a long history of infections as a trigger but other factors contributing to longer term disability. If the virus is found to enter the brain, this might increase the risk,” added Wessley.
Charles Shepard, medical adviser to a UK patient charity also stated that patients will develop a post-viral fatigue syndrome, which may then lead into an ME/CFS-like illness. He added a thorough research needs to be done on persons who have recovered from an acute attack of coronavirus. Then only will a clear picture emerge and preventive measures can be taken.