Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is more commonly known as ME and can sometimes develop as a complication of the Epstein Barr virus, but what is the chronic fatigue syndrome Epstein Barr relationship and why does CFS sometimes follow cases of Epstein Barr?
The Epstein Barr virus and chronic fatigue syndrome are often considered to be one and the same illness since the symptoms of excessive fatigue are very similar and Epstein Barr viral infections can sometimes lead to chronic fatigue syndrome. Indeed, many people still refer to chronic fatigue syndrome as chronic Epstein Barr virus. There has also been links drawn between chronic fatigue syndrome and Lyme Disease.
What is chronic fatigue syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome causes persistent tiredness that does not improve with adequate sleep and rest. The condition often lasts for many years and can be severe enough to prevent the patient from doing normal everyday activities without extensive bed rest.
What is the Epstein Barr virus?
The Epstein Barr virus is more popularly referred to as glandular fever. It is a viral infection that attacks white blood cells and cells in the salivary glands, which causes the lymph glands in the neck to swell, leading to a fever, sore throat, and tiredness. The virus is not serious, but it can last for two or more weeks and for some it leads on to chronic fatigue syndrome.
Several studies on the chronic fatigue syndrome Epstein Barr relationship have been carried out by researchers trying to ascertain whether there is a definite link between the two conditions. A study carried out in 1985 suggested that there was a definite correlation between the Epstein Barr virus and chronic fatigue syndrome and a research study in Japan had similar results when it examined patients complaining of chronic fatigue symptoms—of those who satisfied the criteria for CFS, all were found to have raised levels of Epstein Barr antibodies in their blood.
However, other studies on the chronic fatigue Epstein Barr virus relationship did not have the same findings and research carried out in 1987 found that many of the chronic fatigue patients tested had had no exposure to the Epstein Barr virus whatsoever.
Thanks to the well publicised results of early studies linking chronic fatigue syndrome and the Epstein Barr virus, many doctors rule out chronic fatigue syndrome as the cause of persistent exhaustion if the patient has not been exposed to the Epstein Barr virus, but it is important not to rule out chronic fatigue syndrome as a diagnosis in the absence of EBV antibodies, as it could well be the cause.
But whatever the various scientific studies might be saying about the lack of firm evidence pointing to a connection between the Epstein Barr virus and chronic fatigue syndrome, there are enough people out there who have had a bout of Epstein Barr at some point in their life, and who have then gone on to suffer years of ongoing chronic fatigue syndrome, for there not to be some kind of causal link between the two illnesses.