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Epidemiology

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 Hispanics as it is among whites.
  • 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.

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