Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) report today that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) costs the U.S.
economy $9.1 billion per year in lost productivity. The study, published in the
Open Access journal, Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation, is based upon a
phone survey of 56,000 persons in Wichita, Kan., followed by thorough medical
evaluations of those who complained of unusual fatigue lasting a month or
CFS, also known as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction
(CFIDS) is a complex and debilitating condition that affects
the brain and multiple body systems. CFIDS is characterized by incapacitating
fatigue (experienced as profound exhaustion and extremely poor stamina), pain in
the joints and muscles, problems with concentration and short-term memory,
numerous flu-like symptoms and relapse following even minimal physical or mental
The $9.1 billion estimate does not include health care costs
or payment of disability benefits, which are likely to be substantial. The
direct cost cited is equivalent to the financial losses caused by digestive
system disorders and infectious and parasitic diseases.
According to the study authors, "The extent of the burden
indicates that continued research to determine the cause of and potential
therapies for CFS could provide substantial benefit both for individual patients
and for the nation."
This important study adds further evidence to the
classification of CFIDS as a major public health concern. CFIDS affects
approximately 800,000 U.S. and disproportionately affects women,
African-Americans and Hispanics, and people of less-than-college education and
lower socioeconomic status. Studies of adolescents and children have been
insufficient to document prevalence in younger populations; however, those under
18 are at less risk for developing CFS than adults.
We’ve made it easy for you -- just go to
http://www.cfids.org/ click on the Capitol Building icon that will take you to an
alert where you will have the option of writing two separate letters.
You can write to CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding to thank
her for the agency’s efforts to document the toll CFIDS takes on the individual
and nation. And you can help spread the news of this study to the media.
Coverage by your local newspapers and news stations will send a message to the
public that CFIDS takes a serious toll – on the individual and our economy.
Don’t forget to use the Tell A Friend feature
to help generate even more impact.
Thank you for participating in CFIDS advocacy. We value your
K. Kimberly McCleary
President & CEO
The economic impact of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Reynolds, Suzanne D Vernon, Ellen Bouchery, William C Reeves
Effectiveness and Resource Allocation 2004, 2:4
Monday 21 June 2004
This article is available free of charge according to the
journal’s Open Access policy at: