Estimating rates of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) from a community-based sample: a pilot study

Most of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) epidemiological
studies have relied on physicians who refer patients having at
least six months of chronic fatigue and other symptoms.
However, there are a number of potential problems when using
this method to derive prevalence statistics. For example, some
individuals with CFS might not have the economic resources to
access medical care. Other individuals with CFS might be
reluctant to use medical personnel, particularly if they have
encountered physicians skeptical of the authenticity of their
illness. In addition, physicians that are skeptical of the
existence of CFS might not identify cases. In the present
pilot study, a random community sample (N = 1,031) was
interviewed by telephone in order to identify and
comprehensively evaluate individuals with symptoms of CFS and
those who self-report having CFS. Different definitions of CFS
were employed, and higher rates (0.2%) of CFS were found than
in previous studies. Methodological benefits in using more
rigorous epidemiological methods when estimating CFS
prevalence rates are discussed.

Jason LA, Taylor R, Wagner L, Holden J, Ferrari JR, Plioplys AV,
Plioplys S,Lipkin D, Papernik M

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