Author(s): Manabendra Nayak1, P.C. Bhattacharyya2
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue which worsens the physical or mental activity. Of all chronic illnesses, CFS is one of the most mysterious, unlike infections, it has no clear cause. The large majority of cases are said to occur between the age of 18 and 60 years, the mean age being 35 years. Cases are recognised all over the world. Most are sporadically found, but many clusters have also been reported. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disorder of unknown etiology, which probably has an infectious basis with immunological manifestation. One or more viruses have been implicated as the cause of CFS excluding Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), but no causal relationship between any virus and CFS has been proven. It is now believed that CFS is not specific to one pathogenic agent but could be a state of chronic immune activation, possibly of polyclonal activity of B-lymphocytes, initiated by virus. Diagnostic imaging studies have also provided preliminary data to suggest that patients with CFS may have neurologic abnormalities. Magnetic resonance imaging has shown the presence of cerebral lesion in white matter, predominantly in frontal lobe. Patients with CFS presents with signs and symptoms similar to those of most common viral infections. The signs and symptoms of CFS can last for months or years. Since there is no known cure for CFS, treatment is supportive. Numerous clinical trials of pharmacologic agents have been conducted but no definitive therapeutic benefit has been identified. To date, no type of therapy has been shown to attenuate the cause of the disease. Instead, treatment protocol tends to focus on ameliorating the symptoms of the condition rather than seeking to cure the condition.