By a Staff Writer at The Ohio State University College Of Medicine.
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and Gulf War illness are complex, chronic diseases with overlapping symptoms and no definitive way to diagnose or differentiate between them.
The one symptom they share in common is long-term, disabling fatigue. But widely varying symptoms affecting the immune, endocrine and neurological systems may occur, including muscle and joint pain, concentration and memory problems, headaches, sleep problems, fever, sore throat and tender lymph nodes—symptoms that are common to a number of different illnesses, making diagnosis of ME/CFS even more challenging.
Around 50% of patients who develop ME/CFS report that their symptoms occurred after exhibiting “flu-like” symptoms, leading some researchers to look into the role that certain viruses play in triggering an ME/CFS infection and its impact on the body’s immune system. Viruses such as Epstein-Barr virus, human herpesvirus 6 and varicella-zoster virus, all of which establish latent (persistent) infections in their host, can be periodically reactivated over a person’s lifetime.
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