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Title: Systematic Review of the Epidemiological Burden of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Across Europe: Current Evidence and EUROMENE Research Recommendations for Epidemiology
Authors: Estévez-López, Fernando
Mudie, Kathleen
Wang-Steverding, Xia
Bakken, Inger Johanne
Ivanovs, Andrejs
Castro-Marrero, Jesús
Nacul, Luis
Alegre, Jose
Zalewski, Paweł
Słomko, Joanna
Strand, Elin Bolle
Pheby, Derek
Shikova, Evelina
Lorusso, Lorenzo
Capelli, Enrica
Sekulic, Slobodan
Scheibenbogen, Carmen
Sepulveda, Nuno
Murovska, Modra
Lacerda, Eliana
on behalf of The European Network on ME/CFS (EUROMENE)
Keywords: central nervous system diseases;infections;;muscular diseases;post-exertional malaise;virus diseases
Issue Date: 21-May-2020
Abstract: This review aimed at determining the prevalence and incidence of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) in Europe. We conducted a primary search in Scopus, PubMed and Web of Science for publications between 1994 and 15 June 2019 (PROSPERO: CRD42017078688). Additionally, we performed a backward-(reference lists) and forward-(citations) search of the works included in this review. Grey literature was addressed by contacting all members of the European Network on ME/CFS (EUROMENE). Independent reviewers searched, screened and selected studies, extracted data and evaluated the methodological and reporting quality. For prevalence, two studies in adults and one study in adolescents were included. Prevalence ranged from 0.1% to 2.2%. Two studies also included incidence estimates. In conclusion, studies on the prevalence and incidence of ME/CFS in Europe were scarce. Our findings point to the pressing need for well-designed and statistically powered epidemiological studies. To overcome the shortcomings of the current state-of-the-art, EUROMENE recommends that future research is better conducted in the community, reviewing the clinical history of potential cases, obtaining additional objective information (when needed) and using adequate ME/CFS case definitions; namely, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention−1994, Canadian Consensus Criteria, or Institute of Medicine criteria.
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