The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today released an updated website for healthcare providers about myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

Stethoscope Public domain image/Darnyi Zsóka
Public domain image/Darnyi Zsóka

The new site is designed specifically with clinicians in mind and offers information about how physicians can better assess and help their patients manage the illness. CDC’s new ME/CFS web content includes information about how ME/CFS presents and its clinical course, the diagnostic criteria released in 2015 by the Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine), and how healthcare providers can approach medical care for people who have been diagnosed with ME/CFS. The new web content is part of an effort to increase awareness among healthcare providers about this condition.

An estimated 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans suffer from ME/CFS, a serious, long-term illness that can severely impair their abilities to live normal lives. Many people struggle with symptoms for years before receiving a diagnosis and there is no definitive diagnostic test. One of the reasons that people with ME/CFS are not diagnosed is a lack of awareness and understanding about ME/CFS among healthcare providers. Most medical schools in the United States do not have ME/CFS as part of their physician training. Less than one-third of medical school curricula and less than half of medical textbooks in the U.S. include information about ME/CFS.

The new website notes that anyone can get ME/CFS. While most common in people between 40 and 60 years old, the illness affects children, adolescents, and adults of all ages. More education for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers is urgently needed, so they are prepared to provide timely diagnosis and appropriate care for patients with ME/CFS.

Besides information for healthcare providers, the updated ME/CFS website includes resources for patients, families, and schools. The site also features patients’ personal accounts of living with ME/CFS in the recently added section, Voice of the Patient.