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    High Price of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Set

    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Costs U.S. $9 Billion Each Year
    WebMD Health News

    June 24, 2004 -- The physical and mental fatigue caused by chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) costs the U.S. more than $9 billion each year in lost productivity alone, according to a new study.

    Researchers say CFS affects between 400,000 and 800,000 people in the U.S. The mysterious condition of unknown origin results in potentially disabling physical and mental fatigue that can't be explained by other causes and lasts an average of five years.

    The study, published in the current issue of Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation, shows the condition costs the average person with chronic fatigue syndrome $20,000 per year in lost wages, which results in a loss of national productivity comparable to that caused by diseases of the digestive, immune, and nervous systems and skin disorders.

    Researchers say it's the first time the economic burden of CFS has been examined and suggests that the disease is poorly recognized and ineffectively managed.

    Cost of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

    In the study, researchers surveyed people diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome in Wichita, Kan., and asked them about their employment status, household income, and occupation.

    The study showed that about a quarter of those with CFS who could have otherwise been employed had left their jobs due to their illness.

    Researchers say chronic fatigue syndrome caused an average 37% decline in household income and a 54% reduction in labor force productivity.

    Extrapolating those results to the U.S. population as a whole, researchers estimate that CFS causes a total loss of $9.1 billion, consisting of $2.3 billion in lost household income and $6.8 billion in lost labor productivity.

    None of these estimates include health-care costs associated with the disease, which researchers say are likely to be substantial.

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