The awareness of chronic fatigue syndrome: A comparative study in Brazil and the United Kingdom

The awareness of chronic fatigue syndrome: A comparative study in Brazil and the United Kingdom

Author Cho, Hyong Jin Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Menezes, Paulo Rossi Google Scholar
Bhugra, Dinesh Google Scholar
Wessely, Simon Google Scholar
Institution Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP)
Kings Coll London
Universidade de São Paulo (USP)
Abstract Objective: While in many Western affluent countries there is widespread awareness of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), little is known about the awareness of CFS/ME in low- and middle-income countries. We compared the awareness of CFS in Brazil and the United Kingdom. Methods: Recognition and knowledge of CFS were assessed among 120 Brazilian specialist doctors in two major university hospitals using a typical case vignette of CFS. We also surveyed 3914 and 2435 consecutive attenders in Brazilian and British primary care clinics, respectively, concerning their awareness of CFS. Results: When given a typical case vignette of CFS, only 30.8% [95% confidence interval (CI), 22.7-39.9%] of Brazilian specialist doctors mentioned chronic fatigue or CFS as a possible diagnosis, a proportion substantially lower than that observed in Western affluent countries. Similarly, only 16.2% (95% CI, 15.1-17.4%) of Brazilian primary care attenders were aware of CFS, in contrast to 55.1% (95% CI, 53.1-57.1%) of their British counterparts (P <.001). This difference remained highly significant after controlling for patients' sociodemographic and socioeconomic characteristics (P <.001). Conclusions: the awareness of CFS was substantially lower in Brazil than the United Kingdom. the observed difference may influence patients' help-seeking behavior and both doctors' and patients' beliefs and attitudes in relation to fatigue-related syndromes. Attempts to promote the awareness of CFS should be considered in Brazil, but careful plans are required to ensure the delivery of sound evidence-based information. (c) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords chronic fatigue syndrome
United Kingdom
Language English
Date 2008-04-01
Published in Journal of Psychosomatic Research. Oxford: Pergamon-Elsevier B.V., v. 64, n. 4, p. 351-355, 2008.
ISSN 0022-3999 (Sherpa/Romeo, impact factor)
Publisher Elsevier B.V.
Extent 351-355
Access rights Closed access
Type Article
Web of Science ID WOS:000254812200002

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