Shadow burden of undiagnosed chronic fatigue syndrome on society

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a poorly understood, complex, multi-system disorder, with severe fatigue not alleviated by rest, and other symptoms, which lead to substantial reductions in functional activity and quality of life. Due to the unclear etiology, treatment of patients is complicated, but one of the initial problems is insufficient diagnostic. The increase in the number of undiagnosed CFS patients is becoming specifically relevant in the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study was to investigate the issues of undiagnosed CFS potential patients, and this disease’s shadow burden on society. The study design was based on two surveys. One of them was distributed on a social networking platform that is most relevant to the structure of potential patients. The second survey’s data were obtained from COVID-19 patients cohort established at the National Biobank – Genome Database of Latvian population. Both questionnaires (inter alia) contained questions on the CFS relevant symptoms in accordance with CDC (Fukuda) criteria. Descriptive and analytical statistical methods have been utilised for analyses of the obtained data. The data of the social networking platform’s survey showed that 197 (85,3%) of 231 respondents, reported more than 3 long-term symptoms similar to CFS symptoms. The COVID-19 patients’ survey showed that 20 patients (16.7%) of 120 respondents, reported 4 to 8 CFS specific symptoms simultaneously. Noticeably, that 95% of these respondents reported launching symptoms after COVID-19. With the assumption that the burden of CFS before COVID-19 was around € 50 billion in Europe, the expansion of CFS with insufficient diagnostic and treatment, can vastly increase the financial burden on society in future. Undiagnosed CFS creates a significant shadow burden on society, and this burden increases without timely treatment. Consequently, an integrated diagnostic approach and appropriate treatment could reduce this burden in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2021
EventRSU Research week 2021: Knowledge for Use in Practice - Rīga, Latvia
Duration: 24 Mar 202126 Mar 2021


ConferenceRSU Research week 2021: Knowledge for Use in Practice
Abbreviated titleRW2021
Internet address

Field of Science*

  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)


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