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Most Youth With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Undiagnosed

Racial disparity seen with higher prevalence and more undiagnosed cases in minorities

girl being examined

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) remains largely undiagnosed in youth, according to a study published online Jan. 23 in the Child & Youth Care Forum.

Leonard A. Jason, Ph.D., from DePaul University in Chicago, and colleagues assessed the prevalence of pediatric ME/CFS from an ethnically and sociodemographically diverse community-based random sample of 10,119 youth (aged 5 to 17 years) from 5,622 households.

The researchers found that the prevalence of pediatric ME/CFS was 0.75 percent. A higher percentage of those diagnosed were African-American and Latinx versus Caucasian. Of the youth diagnosed with ME/CFS based on the screening, less than 5 percent had been previously diagnosed. African-American and Latinx youth were twice as likely to have undiagnosed ME/CFS.

"Our finding that most youth with ME/CFS have not been previously diagnosed is comparable to findings in adults," a coauthor said in a statement. "We definitely need better ways to identify people with this illness and to develop effective interventions for them."

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