As the number of COVID infections around the globe continues to climb, it’s become increasingly clear that a subset of people who have supposedly cleared the acute infection are left with lingering, debilitating symptoms such as a bone-deep, worse-flu-you’ve-ever-had fatigue.
This wave of so-called COVID long-haulers has attracted attention to an illness that, until recently, was thought of in much of the medical community as not physical at all, but psychological.
People who are living with chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis), likely weren’t surprised when reports of the long-haul phenomenon began trickling in. Often, CFS/ME strikes following some kind of viral infection.
Before COVID, 411,000 Canadians reported that they were living with CFS/ME, and that may not represent the true impact of the disease, since some research suggests up to 80 percent of cases go undiagnosed.
As those numbers grow, governments as well as the medical and scientific communities, will hopefully be forced to devote more attention and resources to unraveling the origins of CFS/ME, and finding effective treatment.
A belated thank-you to the interviewees who so kindly shared their time and expertise with our readers:
- Dr. Ric Arseneau, an associate clinical professor of general internal medicine at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine.
- Dr. Alison C. Bested, a haematological pathologist who is now medical director of the Complex Chronic Diseases Program at BC Women’s Hospital and a clinical associate professor in the University of British Columbia’s faculty of medicine.
- Odile Gerin, an Ottawa author and CFS/ME advocate.
- Dr. Patrick McGowan, an associate professor in the departments of cell and systems biology, psychology and physiology at the University of Toronto Scarborough.
- Dr. Alain Moreau, a professor of stomatology (faculty of dentistry) and biochemisty and molecular medicine at the University of Montreal’s faculty of medicine, and scientific director of the Viscogliosi Laboratory in Molecular Genetics of Musculoskeletal Diseases, Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre in Montreal.
- Dr. Rachel Morehouse, a psychiatrist, professor of psychiatry at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS, and medical director of the Atlantic Sleep Centre at the St. John (NB) Regional Hospital.
- Dr. Peter Powles, professor emeritis in the division of respirology, department of medicine at McMaster University and medical director of the sleep assessment program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (Ont.); and Eleanor Stein, a psychiatrist in private practice and assistant clinical professor at the University of Calgary.
Thank-you too, to the patient organization AQEM (Association Québècoise de l’Enéephalomyélite Myalgique), which put me in touch with Madame Gerin.