Is there a postinfection fatigue syndrome?

Prolonged fatigue syndromes are common in general practice. Most of

these syndromes are secondary to other common medical or

psychological disorders. It appears, however, that some

specific infectious illnesses are associated with prolonged

recovery. Theories as to the mechanisms for such post

infection fatigue syndromes include a range of immunological,

psychological and neurobiological processes. Current evidence

suggests disruption of fundamental central nervous system

mechanisms, such as the sleep-wake cycle and the

hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, may underpin the

clinical features of this disorder. Treatment should focus on

the provision of continuous medical care, physical

rehabilitation and adjunctive psychological therapies.

Hickie I, Lloyd A, Wakefield D, Ricci C

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