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CFS "common" in schools

Tuesday December 13th, 2011

As many as one per cent of secondary school children may suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, British researchers claimed today.

A study in the south-west of England identified some 28 children in three schools with the problem.

Researchers found the children in a study of children who were missing school for extended periods because of alleged sickness.

Writing in BMJ Open, the researchers say previous estimates have suggested that between 0.1 and 0.5 per cent of children have the problem.

During the research five children had already been diagnosed and another 42 were referred to a specialist clinic. Of these some 23 were diagnosed for the first time with chronic fatigue syndrome.

The researchers say a school-based clinic seems to help children with recovery. They had less fatigue and less disability - and six recovered within six weeks.

Researcher Dr Esther Crawley, of Bristol University, UK, says undiagnosed CFS may be an "important and under-appreciated" cause of school absence in children aged between 11 and 16.

She reports: "There are several possible reasons why children missing significant amounts of school with chronic fatigue syndrome/ME are not identified.

"Those with moderate/mild symptoms may not see their GP or may not be recognised as having the condition if they are seen. Alternatively, GPs and paediatricians may not be aware of specialist services or feel that their child's condition is sufficiently serious to warrant a referral."

BMJ Open December 13 2011 doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000252

Tags: Child Health | Mental Health | UK News

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