By David J. Craig in Columbia Magazine.
Physicians have seen it before: in the aftermath of a viral epidemic, survivors complain of a crushing lethargy, mental fogginess, sleep difficulty, and muscle pain. Many are eventually diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis, also called chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), a poorly understood condition that has no FDA-approved treatment and that often leaves people debilitated for life. It has happened after outbreaks of SARS, MERS, West Nile fever, Epstein-Barr viral infections, and Ebola. And now, experts fear, it could happen again on a much larger scale with COVID-19.
“Many people who’ve had COVID-19 and recovered from their respiratory symptoms are now experiencing health problems that we often see in the early stages of ME/CFS,” says Mady Hornig, a Columbia immunologist and an expert on the neurological disease.
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