"Yuppie Flu" is Dead
CDC: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is Widespread, Severe
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may affect up to 50 times the number
previously estimated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), reported
Dr. William Reeves, chief of Viral Exanthems and Herpesvirus Branch at
CDC. Dr. Reeves, Harvard Medical School's Anthony Komaroff and the Oregon
Health Sciences University's Dr. Mark Loveless provided testimony at a
May 12, 1995 Congressional Briefing sponsored by Representative John Porter
(R-IL) and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV). Much new information was presented
to dispel the popular belief that CFS is a benign, self-limited illness
that only affects whites with high incomes.
- Dr. Reeves stated that 76-220 per 100,000 Americans have a CFS-like
illness. Earlier CDC estimates pinned the number at 4-9 cases per 100,000.
- New CDC estimates indicate that CFS is twice as common in the Afro-American
and native American populations as in the white population.
- This CDC study also reports that the average income of sufferers identified
is $15,000 per year.
- CDC officials have recently added CFS to the list of Priority-1 New
and Reemerging Infectious Diseases. Other illnesses listed as Priority-1
include E.coli and tuberculosis.
- Dr. Reeves further stated that, according to CDC's initial study,
only 12 percent of patients ever recover. But, he clarified that overall
the recovery rate may be as high as 45 percent, stressing that chances
for recovery substantially diminish after five years of illness.
- Dr. Mark Loveless, an infectious disease specialist who runs an AIDS
and CFS clinic at OHSU, stated that a CFIDS patient feels every day
significantly the same as an AIDS patient feels two months before death.
His statement was supported by data from clinical research conducted
at OHSU and by the experience of other CFS experts.
- Dr. Anthony Komaroff, a CFS researcher, clinician and principal investigator
of a National Institutes of Health-funded CFS research center, reported
on the serious damage to the brain found in patients with CFS, apparently
causing many body systems to malfunction.
- In six months CDC has responded to over 65,000 requests for copies
of the newly revised case definition for CFS published in the December
15, 1994 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a serious and complex illness characterized
by incapacitating fatigue, neurological problems and a constellation of
other debilitating symptoms. The CFIDS
Association of America, which organized and provided speakers for
the Congressional Briefing, is the nation's largest and most active charitable
organization dedicated to conquering CF(ID)S.
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