New CFS Prevalence Study Is Published
Advocacy Alert: 6/12/2007
The CFIDS Association has issued a press release about the new CFS prevalence study in Population Health Metrics. The full text of the release can be read at http://www.cfids.org/sparkcfs/pr060807.pdf
According to the study authors, it is not certain that the prevalence rate found in Georgia can be extrapolated to the entire United States. But if this rate were to be found to be replicable, the prevalence of adults with CFS in the U.S. would be around 4 million, which is the figure Dr. William Reeves has frequently cited in presentations based on the Georgia study data. The 7.5 million figure in Peter White’s commentary appears to include all Americans, not Americans between the ages of 18-59, which is the age demographic strictly applicable to the 2.54% prevalence found in Georgia.
The exact prevalence rate will no doubt continue to be revised as researchers learn more about CFS, debate the merits of specific methodology for estimating prevalence, and refine their methodology accordingly in new studies. This has happened over the past decade as methods have evolved—and prevalence numbers have been revised—especially with regard to large community-based studies. And it will continue in the absence of a lab test or biomarker to more accurately define the number of people who are suffering from CFS.
There has long been concern in the patient and scientific communities that earlier prevalence studies may not have reflected the real number of Americans suffering with CFS. The new methodology used in the Georgia study can, and will, be debated over the coming weeks and months in the CFS research community. That debate is healthy and part of a larger scientific process that we all hope leads to progressively more accurate estimates of the number of Americans living with CFS. But in the meantime, we need more research investigating cause and cure—and identifying more effective treatments for people who are suffering every day with this life-altering illness.
Please look for more information and varying perspectives on the new prevalence study in the next issues of the CFIDS Chronicle and CFIDSLink.
Director of Communications
CFIDS Association of America