Post-viral fatigue syndrome

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Post-viral fatigue syndrome
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 G93.3

Post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS) is a condition or conditions characterized by fatigue following a viral infection. This state of prolonged or severe fatigue after illness is not uncommon. Some people experience fatigue and related symptoms for months or years following a severe viral infection.[1] PVFS is also known as chronic fatigue syndrome.


In the WHO's ICD-10, PVFS is listed as sub-category at G93.3 under category G93 'other disorders of the brain'.[2] Listed under PVFS is benign myalgic encephalomyelitis.[3] The term chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is also direct to sub-category G93.3 in the tabular list and alphabetic index of the ICD-10.[2][4]

Post-viral syndromes may also include: post-polio syndrome and possibly chronic mononucleosis or other severe chronic viral infections.

Signs and symptoms[edit]

The main symptoms of the syndrome are disabling fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, neurocognitive difficulties and mood disturbance.[1] Other symptoms experienced by some patients are those of nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite and patients may also present with unrefreshing sleep. Patients with this illness may explain that they experience good and bad days with their symptoms and their activity may range greatly from a bad to a good day. Other conditions must be ruled out, including (but not limited to) diabetes, anaemia and kidney/liver problems.[citation needed]


For post-viral fatigue syndrome to be completely diagnosed, the patient must have suffered symptoms for six months at least, although an earlier diagnosis may be made and confirmed later on. Blood samples must be taken and tested to rule out other conditions which may be causing such symptoms and other tests may be carried out to ensure that the diagnosis is accurate. There is no definite cure for post-viral fatigue syndrome, but the symptoms can be relieved by using an over-the-counter analgesic medication for musculoskeletal pain and medication can be prescribed if depression becomes apparent. However, it seems that the best relief for post-viral fatigue is rest and not overdoing activities.


Though debilitating, post-viral fatigue syndrome does improve over time. Some patients may experience symptoms for a few months, whereas others may have had symptoms for many years. Patients can help themselves by not overworking on the days that they feel good, but trying to maintain a consistent routine every day, gradually building up exercise and activity is beneficial.

Risk factors[edit]

Some research indicates that the chance of developing a post-viral fatigue syndrome is more strongly related to the severity of the infection rather than on demographic, psychological or microbiological characteristics.[1] Other research indicates the contrary and that doctor behaviour and patient attitudes were the best predictors.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Hickie I, Davenport T, Wakefield D, et al. (2006), "Post-infective and chronic fatigue syndromes precipitated by viral and non-viral pathogens: prospective cohort study", BMJ 333 (7568): 575, doi:10.1136/bmj.38933.585764.AE, PMC 1569956, PMID 16950834. 
  2. ^ a b International Classification of Diseases (Tabular List ed.), World Health Organization, 2007 
  3. ^ Ramsay, Melvin A. (1986), Postviral Fatigue Syndrome. The saga of Royal Free disease, London: Gower, ISBN 0-906923-96-4 
  4. ^ ICD-10 International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems: 3 (Alphabetical Index ed.), World Health Organization, 2006, p. 528 
  5. ^ Cope H, David A, Pelosi A, Mann A (September 24, 1994), Predictors of chronic "postviral" fatigue, The Lancet, pp. 864–8, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(94)92833-9, PMID 7916407