Article Index


Rosemary Underhill of the New Jersey CFS Association studied the prevalence of chronic fatigue and CFS in the offspring of mothers with CFS/ME. A questionnaire to members of the NJCFSA identified 108 mothers with physician-documented CFS/ME. These woman were contacted for details. There were 220 offspring. 24% of mothers had an offspring with documented CFS/ME or chronic fatigue (CF). CFS/ME occurred in 5.5%, and 11.4% had chronic fatigue. Both sons and daughters were affected about equally, and half developed illness after age 18. 42% of the offspring with CFS/ME had already recovered, as had onethird of those with CF.

Leonard Jason (DePaul University, Chicago) calculated the economic impact of CFS/ME using both community-based and tertiary sample pools. Indirect costs (that is, loss of production) were estimated to occur in 27%, or an annual loss of $20,000 per person with CFS/ME. Direct costs (drugs, medical tests, office visits, etc.) were ascertained to be $8764 per person in the tertiary sample and $2341 in the community sample. (Patients identified from tertiary care tend to be more ill than those in the community.) Thus, the combined direct and indirect costs were $22,341 per person in the community sample and $28,674 in the tertiary sample, for an annual cost to the US economy of 19.6 to 25.2-billion dollars.