How Many Million Americans with CFS? Alert Readers Point to the Fine Print

Look for full-page CFS Public Awareness Campaign ads in the August Ladies’ Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens, going out to 20 million readers. And be advised:

Alert readers have been e-mailing us to ask about the text of the ads, which state: “More than four million Americans suffer from CFS, and the majority don’t know they have it.” Yes, that’s 3.1 million more people than the 900,000 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – the campaign’s sponsor – mentions on its special CFS Awareness Campaign Web page.

So the cat’s out of the bag. Several weeks ago the CDC informed the CFS community that it had new numbers on the incidence of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but was keeping them confidential until publication of its new study reporting those numbers. The news will be such a draw for the media and everyone concerned with CFS policy that the CDC decided on a combined press event covering both the new stats and the official campaign launch, first scheduled for June 7.

According to news posted at the CFIDS Association of America Web site ( ), the new numbers reflect more specific screening methods and diagnostic criteria than were used in two widely-cited previous studies of CFS incidence, reported by De Paul University in 1999, and the CDC in 2003. The new study, which reportedly calculates the prevalence of CFS based on its incidence in the state of Georgia, will be “submitted by early August to an open-access peer-reviewed journal,” according to Dr. William Reeves, a principal CFS researcher at the CDC. “Open-access” means it will be available for download to all who wish to read it, at no charge. We’ll be watching for it.

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