Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS),

is a neurological illness (affecting a person’s nervous system). The main symptom of ME/CFS is post-exertional malaise, which means having flu-like symptoms after exertion and not having enough energy for daily activities.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis means pain in the muscles, and inflammation in the brain and spinal cord.

ME/CFS is a complex illness and we do not know the cause. For some people, the condition may be triggered suddenly by a viral infection, toxic exposure, anaesthetic, immunization, gastroenteritis or trauma.

In other people, ME/CFS may develop slowly over a period of years.

Around 25 per cent of people with ME/CFS will have a mild form and be able to get to school or work either part-time or fulltime, while reducing other activities. About 50 per cent will have a moderate to severe form and not be able to get to school or work.

Another 25 per cent will experience severe ME and be housebound or bedbound.

On average, many people with ME/CFS will have improvement in the first five years, but others may remain bedbound or highly housebound for life, or may suffer relapses throughout their lives.

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