August 26st, 2020

Ellen de Visser recently wrote a piece in De Volkskrant entitled “Inexplicably tired after Corona”, in which she discusses that some of the ex-Covid patients still have serious complaints months later. These complaints are very similar to a misunderstood condition, namely chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

Of course, research into the long-term consequences is only now starting, but there is already talk of a “post-covid syndrome”; patients in whom nothing is physically wrong (no lung problems, no damaged heart muscle, no after-effects of a long IC admission) who nevertheless feel extremely exhausted.

In the Netherlands, it is in particular the Nijmegen emeritus professor Jos van der Meer who points to an upcoming ‘boom’ of very tired post-Covid patients, as we saw earlier – to a slightly more limited extent – with Q fever, Lyme, the Legionnaires’ disease and Epstein-Barr. Where the complaints come from is currently a mystery, he says.

Amsterdam professor of virology Menno de Jong now follows 150 people with these complaints, and Maastricht rehabilitation professor Jeanine Verbunt is working with general practitioners on a risk profile to prevent this group of patients with unexplained complaints from ending up in a vicious circle past all kinds of care providers before they are recognized in their suffering.

Van der Meer is hopeful that this new research – which is currently directed towards a possible autoimmune disease – can shed more light on CFS as such. In the meantime, post-Covid patients will have to be guided as best as possible.

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