According to research published in BMJ Open, undiagnosed chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) may be responsible for almost 1% of non-truant children who miss extended time off school. The authors state that earlier estimates, based on findings in just less than 3,000 pupils aged between 11 to 16 years at three secondary schools in the southwest of England, where specialist CFS/ME services are well established, have indicated that CFS/ME affects between 0.1 to 0.5% of children.
The study included children who had missed over 20% of schooling over a 6-week period, but excluded children who missed school for a defined episode of ill health. Over a 6-week period, 461 children had missed more than 20% of school with 3 children because of CFS/ME. The reason of absence for the remaining 146 children was unexplained. 112 of these children attended a clinical review at school, where two children unknown to the school, had already been diagnosed with CFS/ME, whilst 42 children were referred on to a specialist clinic, which resulted in 23 children being newly diagnosed with CFS/ME. The figures demonstrate that 28 of 2,855 children, i.e. the equivalent of 1% of the school roll who missed over 20% of schooling over a six-week period suffered from CFS/ME. For more information follow the link to Medical News Today