Public Release: 

Chronic fatigue syndrome is rare in children

Epidemiology of chronic fatigue syndrome and self reported myalgic encephalomyelitis in 5-15 year olds: cross sectional study BMJ Volume 327, pp 654-5

BMJ

There have been no proper estimates of the numbers of children with chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) in the UK. Estimates vary from none at all to an epidemic that threatens our schools.

But researchers in this week's BMJ suggest that contrary to the more alarmist predictions, CFS/ME is not very common in children of school age.

However, for those unfortunate ones who do develop the condition, it is clear that the problems are extremely serious, affecting the child and family. Despite the relatively small numbers involved, it remains a tragedy that it is one of the commonest reasons for long term school absence, they say.

This paper also highlights the importance of psychological factors such as anxiety, which may centre around resuming school after sickness. The principle researcher Dr Trudie Chalder emphasised that the physical and psychological needs of children with CFS/ME should not be neglected.

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