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Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Feb;194(2):117-22. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.108.051813.

Comparative epidemiology of chronic fatigue syndrome in Brazilian and British primary care: prevalence and recognition.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, University of São Paulo Medical School, University Hospital, University of São Paulo, Brazil. h.cho@iop.kcl.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although fatigue is a ubiquitous symptom across countries, clinical descriptions of chronic fatigue syndrome have arisen from a limited number of high-income countries. This might reflect differences in true prevalence or clinical recognition influenced by sociocultural factors.

AIMS:

To compare the prevalence, physician recognition and diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome in London and São Paulo.

METHOD:

Primary care patients in London (n=2459) and São Paulo (n=3914) were surveyed for the prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome. Medical records were reviewed for the physician recognition and diagnosis.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome according to Centers for Disease Control 1994 criteria was comparable in Britain and Brazil: 2.1% v. 1.6% (P=0.20). Medical records review identified 11 diagnosed cases of chronic fatigue syndrome in Britain, but none in Brazil (P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

The primary care prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome was similar in two culturally and economically distinct nations. However, doctors are unlikely to recognise and label chronic fatigue syndrome as a discrete disorder in Brazil. The recognition of this illness rather than the illness itself may be culturally induced.

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PMID:
19182171
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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