Dr Chia finds 2% of ME/CFS cases are due to varicella zoster virus reactivation (shingles), and this form of ME/CFS is very treatable

Many thanks for the detailed response @Pyrrhus - highly appreciated. I will talk to my doctor again and hope that I can try it for 3-4 weeks. I am still not sure if its worth it because I do not have visible blister but maybe I can help the community (and myself) if I do improve on it only because of the elevated T-cell acitivy against the virus. I guess its worth a try especially if the risk for serious complications is kinda low.
It has been hypothesized that varicella zoster virus (VZV) reactivation in the peripheral nerve ganglia may cause ME/CFS.

Dr John Chia finds that around 2% of ME/CFS cases may be due to reactivation of the varicella zoster virus in the dorsal root ganglia.

From Dr Chia's experience, ME/CFS due to varicella zoster virus reactivation appears easy to treat: it responds very quickly (in a matter of weeks) to antivirals such as acyclovir or Valtrex.

So it is worth considering whether you have this rarer form of VZV ME/CFS, just because a short course of antivirals can be curative for varicella zoster ME/CFS.
I wonder if anyone can offer me some advice on this. I had Shingles a number of years ago and it kicked off the CFS. The fatigue was intermittent for a couple of years then constant from 1 year ago. Having read the posts about Shingles on here I wonder if I should try anti virals. However, I can't figure out if Dr Chia and others are recommending them if you have Shingles after the onset of CFS.

If anyone has any experience with this please let me know as I'd love to give it a go but am concerned about becoming my own doctor and the risks therein.

I also need to know how long an effective treatment needs to be in a case like mine.

I'm due to see a consultant in 3 months and he may help with this but I'm not sure I can wait.

Thanks ;)


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I had Shingles a number of years ago and it kicked off the CFS.
Varicella zoster virus reactivation in the form of shingles can occur in the first few months of catching an enterovirus (and enterovirus can trigger ME/CFS). This reactivation is due to the temporary immune weakening caused by the enterovirus infection. Dr Chia published a paper on this. See the first post in this thread for more details.

My guess is that if you do not have an ongoing shingles rash, then it's not the sort of VZV ME/CFS that Dr Chia treats with acyclovir. You could try taking acyclovir for a few weeks if you like though, as in the case of VZV ME/CFS, it only takes a few weeks treatment to cure, it seems.

Did you have any sort of acute infectious epsiode just before you got shingles? Like a sore throat, gastrointestinal upset, or flu-like illness? If so, then the fact that you got shingles afterwards provides a clue that you may have caught an enterovirus, a virus linked to ME/CFS.

In the UK, we do not have sensitive enough tests to detect the chronic enterovirus infections found in ME/CFS patients. But these tests (called antibody neutralization tests) are available in Europe and the US. See the enterovirus section of my roadmap document for labs which can test for chronic enterovirus.
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Thanks for your reply. As far as I can remember, I didn't have any acute infectious illness before Shingles. It really seemed to come out of nowhere.

Even though the rash left a long time ago and hasn't returned, I wondered if the Varicella Zoster virus might be being constantly reactived and causing/contributing to the fatigue. It's a long shot I know but a course of Acyclovir might be worth a try.