Nile Virus. SARS. Flu. Health topics that ignite fear and panic.
Newspaper headlines and even popular TV shows like “24” fuel the public’s
preoccupation with worries about being well one minute and seriously ill the
next. However, anthrax poisoning, West
Nile and SARS are
relatively rare, and somewhat exotic, making it easier to feel comfortably
distant and safe from their effects. But flu is everywhere; it even has its own
This year’s particularly nasty strain and an unprecedented
shortage of vaccine have intensified public concern about flu. An average of
114,000 Americans are hospitalized and 36,000 die every year from the flu.
Nobody wants to get it. And in today’s busy world, nobody has
“time” to be sick for a week or two. Imagine how people would panic if their
case of the flu persisted for months or even for years.
Yet isn’t that what
in its simplest form? A vicious flu that doesn’t subside, that wreaks havoc on
most major body systems and upsets subtle chemical pathways. A flu that turns a
couple days of sick leave into long-term disability. An illness that saps
stamina, brain power, bank accounts and hope.
Using flu as a metaphor for
CFIDS may not be a perfect public relations
strategy, but in this new year The CFIDS Association of America is testing novel
ways to get the public’s attention and enhance their understanding of an illness
that continues to baffle even the brightest scientific minds. We’re focusing
more resources than ever on educating health care providers about diagnosing and
CFIDS. And we are intensifying efforts
to expand cutting-edge CFIDS research. In 2004 we intend to make significant
progress on all these fronts. We hope you’ll join us at this critical time.
K. Kimberly Kenney
The CFIDS Association of
P.S. The fall 2003 issue of The CFS Research Review
included guidance on persons with CFIDS taking
the flu shot. Click here
to access the article. Then please, make your
tax-deductible donation of $25, $50, $100 or
more. Your gift is vital to improving the lives of the 800,000 Americans who
suffer the devastating effects of CFIDS.