Estimates about the prevalence and incidence of ME/CFS vary depending on the populations studied and methods used. Some important facts include:

  • Between 836,000 and 2.5 million Americans have been estimated to have ME/CFS, as noted in the 2015 IOM report.
  • Among cases identified through active surveillance for ME/CFS, less than 20% reported having received an ME/CFS diagnosis from a healthcare provider.
  • Although anyone can get ME/CFS, among persons diagnosed with ME/CFS, the ratio of women to men can be as high as 4 to 1.
  • ME/CFS is less common in children than in adults, and it is more prevalent in adolescents than in younger children.
  • ME/CFS is most common in people between 40 and 60 years old.
  • ME/CFS occurs in all ethnic and racial groups and in countries around the world. It is at least as common among African Americans and Hispanic persons as it is among White persons.
  • People of all income levels can develop ME/CFS.
  • ME/CFS is sometimes seen in members of the same family.
  • Most cases are sporadic, but some cluster outbreaks have been reported.

Disclaimer: The content of this ME/CFS website is for informational purposes only and does not represent a federal guideline or recommendation for the treatment of ME/CFS. The information provided on this website is not intended to be a substitute for the medical judgment of the healthcare provider and does not indicate an exclusive course of action or treatment.