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Post-viral fatigue syndrome

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Disease classification WHO
G93.3 Postviral fatigue syndrome

Post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS) is a condition that presents a fatigue state resulting from a viral infection. The term is not widely used, but the 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]


In the WHO's ICD-10, PVFS is a group header within 'other disorders of the brain', a neurological category. It is furthermore explicitly excluded from neurotic disorders. Listed under PVFS is benign myalgic encephalomyelitis.[2] Several alternative diagnoses to ME such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and neuromyasthenia are included in the alphabetic list of the ICD-10.

Post-viral fatigue syndromes may also include post-polio syndrome and multiple sclerosis.

Some researchers claim that post-viral fatigue syndrome is a biological state of weakness or activation of, or damage to the immune system,[3] and that it is common to many post-viral syndromes.

Risk factors

Viral infections that are suspected of causing post-viral fatigue syndromes are, among others, herpes simplex infections, including mononucleosis.

Research indicates that that the chance of developing a post-viral fatigue syndrome is more strongly related to the severity of the infection rather than to demographic, psychological or microbiological characteristics.[1]

See also

Forms of cancer have also been shown to be post-viral.[4][5]

Some non-viral diseases, such as Lyme disease, may lead to similar chronic symptoms.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hickie I, Davenport T, Wakefield D, Vollmer-Conna U, Cameron B, Vernon SD, Reeves WC, Lloyd A; Dubbo Infection Outcomes Study Group (2006), "Post-infective and chronic fatigue syndromes precipitated by viral and non-viral pathogens: prospective cohort study", British Medical Journal, Sep 16;333(7568):575, pmid=16950834
  2. Ramsay MA (1986), "Postviral Fatigue Syndrome. The saga of Royal Free disease", London, ISBN 0-906923-96-4
  3. Hyde BM (ed.), "The Clinical and Scientific Basis of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", Nightingale Research Foundation, Ottawa, Canada, with editorial and conceptual advice from Levine P and Goldstein J, ISBN 0-9695662-0-4
  4. Zur Hausen H (2002), "Papillomaviruses and cancer: from basic studies to clinical application", Nat Rev Cancer, May;2(5):342-50, Nat Rev Cancer, PMID: 12044010
  5. Schlaberg R, Choe DJ, Brown KR, Thaker HM, Singh IR (2009), "XMRV is present in malignant prostatic epithelium and is associated with prostate cancer, especially high-grade tumors", Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, Sep 22;106(38):16351-6, PMID: 19805305