Review: 'Through the Shadowlands’ describes Julie Rehmeyer's ME/CFS Odyssey
I should note at the outset that this review is based on an audio version of the galleys and the epilogue from the finished work. Julie Rehmeyer sent me the final version as a PDF, but for some reason my text to voice software (Kurzweil) had issues with it. I understand that it is...
Discuss the article on the Forums.

UB40 singer has EBV

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Glynis Steele, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. Glynis Steele

    Glynis Steele Senior Member

    Newcastle upon Tyne UK
    As singer Ali Campbell was putting the final touches to his new album, his legs suddenly buckled from under him and he collapsed on the recording studio floor.

    He had been suffering with a raging temperature and severely swollen glands in the days beforehand, so he was immediately taken to hospital.

    Ali, the former frontman of the hugely successful group UB40 and now a successful solo artist, was kept in hospital for several hours while blood tests and close observations were carried out.
    Mr Campbell was ordered to rest by doctors after collapsing in a recording studio
    Later that same week doctors told him he had contracted the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), an infection most of the population catch when they are babies without any serious ill effects.

    Its a member of the herpes virus family, and more than 90 per cent of the population carry it at any given time. Once weve got it, it remains inside our bodies for the rest of our lives.

    But there is a small number of people who dont get infected with it when they are very young. Instead these people often catch the virus when they reach adolescence.

    More...I don't want to snooze through my pregnancy: Mother-to-be suffers from rare 'Sleeping Beauty' syndrome

    Between 25-40 per cent of these teenagers then go on to develop glandular fever.
    EBV, which causes glandular fever, is spread by the transfer of saliva, and so the illness is commonly known as the kissing disease.

    And a further, even smaller group in western society do not catch the virus in their teens either, but might do so much later in life- which Ali seems to have done.

    The reggae singer has no idea how he contracted the virus
    The typical symptoms of an EBV infection are an overwhelming sense of tiredness as well as swollen lymph glands in the neck, armpit and groin.

    A sore throat, fever, headache and loss of appetite are very familiar too. In half of cases, the spleen and liver can become enlarged and sometimes there is swelling and signs of jaundice around the sufferers eyes.

    The active virus infection can last a few weeks, but the illness associated with glandular fever can continue for several months, although one or two months is fairly typical.

    EBV is diagnosed with an initial blood test or mono spot test when a small sample of blood is taken and examined to see the amount of antibodies in the patients body.

    The diagnosis may then be confirmed by further analysing a blood sample for specific patterns of antibodies to EBV.

    There is no effective medication to treat the virus in a glandular fever patient although paracetomal and other pain killers can ease headaches and reduce the soaring body temperature. It is very unusual for the person affected by EBV to suffer a further bout of glandular fever.

    Veteran Actress Barbara Windsor had a very severe case of EBV seven years ago which took her almost two years to recover from.

    The diagnosis was a shock for Ali, 51. He said he had never suffered from any health condition as debilitating as this before in his life.

    'I had been feeling under the weather for a few days before I collapsed but put it down to overdoing it and not getting enough rest,' says Ali.

    'I was recording my album in the week and had been playing gigs in Hungary and all over Europe at weekends. It was non-stop and then I started feeling more tired, had a sore throat, my glands were up and I was feeling hot.

    'As the days wore on, I was feeling worse and just felt I had no energy left at all. I was drinking loads of water and fluids to ease my sore throat and keep my temperature down which felt it was going off the scale. I was feeling worse but I really wanted to finish the album too.

    Ali Campbell before he split from UB40. He collapsed while finishing his solo album at the end of last year
    'I thought it was flu or something I was trying to fight off.

    'I was really pleased with the album and was literally just doing some mixes to my recording of the old Gerry Rafferty song Baker Street, the last track we were doing.

    'I was standing in the studio feeling hotter and hotter. I felt I could have fried an egg on my forehead as I was burning up so much.

    'I then felt terrible, swayed around for a few seconds and fell on the floor. I was helped up by the guys there and they immediately said they needed to get me to hospital.

    'I had lots of blood tests and was in the hospital most of the evening, before being sent home and ordered to take total bed rest. They still didnt quite know what it was at that stage until the results came back.

    'The lymph glands in my groin area and under my arms had come up massively- again it was something Id never experienced before and I was in real agony as well as feeling so bad.'

    Ali was immediately told to rest for at least eight weeks so his planned autumn tour was postponed. He was told by doctors to take it easy at his seaside home in Christchurch, Dorset with his wife Julie.
    Professor Paul Farrell of the virology department at Londons Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, has been a leading expert in the study of EBV for many years. He says each persons immune system deals with the virus in its own individual way.

    'We dont exactly know why some people get glandular fever and other people seem to get infected silently with EBV,' he says.

    'There are many examples of infection later in life when a virus causes more severe symptoms than in childhood, such as chicken pox.

    'The immune system is just a bit different when you are older than when youre a baby.
    Another possibility-which I personally think is more likely- is that the dose of virus you receive when older maybe higher.

    'The normal route of infection for the very young is being kissed as a baby or sharing a spoon or something along those lines.

    'With teenagers who get EBV, its possible that when they kiss someone who already has the virus at say a disco, they might get a rather larger dose of the virus, particularly if they happen to kiss somebody who is themselves having an active EBV infection and maybe shedding a lot of virus in their saliva.'

    He says there has been some work on an effective vaccine to stop glandular fever but it is still quite a long way off and medical trials will have to continue before a fully-tested one becomes available.

    'We know that about a quarter of adolescents who become infected in their teenage or young adult years get glandular fever when they get their EBV infection,' says Professor Farrell.

    'We know the symptoms are due to the immune response of the body rather than the virus itself, so we dont really have a very effective treatment for glandular fever, except just to wait for the immune response to settle down.'

    Ali is now recuperating at home and says he is now feeling stronger each day.

    'I was just wiped out. In those days after I collapsed I could barely lift my hand in front of me I was so tired,' says Ali.

    'I felt as if I was 90 and could barely get about the house in those first few days.

    'A few days later I was told it was Epstein-Barr Virus. I had heard of it, but had no idea how or where I had caught it.

    'Because theres no medication or vaccine for it to make you better, you have to just ride it out. Its a really strange illness as it can last for weeks or months and be very severe.
    'Luckily in my case, it just wiped me out for three weeks before I started feeling better. I know it could have been a lot worse and it could have taken much longer to get over.

    'I felt I was literally holding off this virus until I had completely finished the new album. As soon as it was done, it knocked me over like a tons of bricks. I was able to fight it off for a few days, but then it just flattened me.

    'It made me think about listening to my body more and taking it easier when I know I need a rest. I know I will get back to signing and performing which I love. Im having blood tests to monitor my antibodies which are still not back to normal levels yet.

    'And Ill just carry on - but slower probably - and hope Im back to my old self again soon.'

  2. eric_s

    eric_s Senior Member

    Switzerland/Spain (Valencia)
    It would be nice if they were smart enough to give the same advice to people who are in a similar condition every day...
    Yeah... we know what you mean...

    Hey, i have an idea. Why does not a UK ME/CFS charity contact Ali Campbell and try to win him as the face for a campaign.

    Now that he knows what it's like and is probably very happy he feels better again instead of going on like this, he might be sympathetic to us.
    He could tell people how it feels and that it's no fun (even if it's not the same illness, but probably feels similarly and might be related at least in a subset of cases).

    I think we should try to turn ME/CFS from something ignored and maybe even hidden from the public to avoid a bad reaction into something "chic" to support. If we could win some famous people for our cause that would be great.

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page