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Rise of long COVID highlights need for support for people with chronic fatigue syndrome

Published by ABC News 22/04/2022

Authors: National medical reporter Sophie Scott and the Specialist Reporting Team’s Leonie Thorne

Amanda Canzurlo has a career as a singer with a busy touring schedule, performing under the name “Bloom”. 

But years ago, that would have been impossible.

After a bout of glandular fever when she was 16, she was bed-bound for about 10 weeks.

“All I knew is that my body ached all over, and just getting up to go to the toilet meant I needed to rest in bed for three hours or so after that,” she said.

When Ms Canzurlo returned to school, the debilitating fatigue and exhaustion persisted. She struggled to study and had to pull out of her tertiary entrance exam subjects and put her university plans on hold.

“I was literally falling asleep in class because I just didn’t have the stamina to get through the day,” she said.

Ms Canzurlo lives with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME-CFS), an illness that usually develops after an infection or virus.

An estimated 250,000 Australians live with the condition, according to Emerge Australia, a national charity that supports people with ME-CFS.

And as more people are diagnosed with long COVID, with some unable to work or live a normal life for months after getting the virus, advocates say the number of people needing support for post-viral illness is set to skyrocket.

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