Viruses and Fatigue

The Current Status of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Simon Wessely


Perhaps none of the subjects covered in the last edition of this book have changed so quickly as the vexed topic of “postviral” fatigue. When James Jones and Bruce Miller (Jones and Miller, 1987) reviewed the situation, the general theme was one of optimism, and despite an awareness of remaining uncertainties and difficulties, progress in understanding the relationship between viruses and chronic fatigue states was anticipated. Sadly, in the subsequent 3 years little of this optimism has been realized. Even the title of the current contribution is different, reflecting increasing international skepticism concerning the exclusive role of viruses. The new term favored for the condition is “chronic fatigue syndrome” (CFS) (Holmes et al., 1988; Lloyd et al.., 1988a), as it is accurate, short, and carries no unproven etiological implications. It will be used in the rest of this chapter to refer to the various illnesses described as “myalgic encephalomyelitis” or “Royal Free Disease” in Britain and Australia, and “chronic Epstein—Barr virus infection” or “chronic mononucleosis” in the United States.


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Psychiatric Illness Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patient Viral Illness Coxsackie Virus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Wessely
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological MedicineInstitute of Psychiatry, CamberwellLondonUK

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