Plight of youngsters struck down by ME – Sunday Express, 13 February 2011

From The Sunday Express, 13 February 2011 (story by Lucy Johnston)

MORE than 54,000 children are suffering with the debilitating condition ME.

One in 100 under-18s, including infants and toddlers, are affected by the problem, which causes chronic fatigue, a study by specialists at Bristol University reveals.

Separate research shows the condition is the biggest medical cause of long-term school absence. Researcher Dr Esther Crawley said: “Until recently we have not known the scale of the problem. There are areas of the country where parents are desperate to get treatment yet their primary care trust refuses to fund it.”

It is not known what causes myalgic encephalopathy. It is also unclear whether the increase in childhood cases is down to larger numbers developing the condition or better surveillance.

Five-year-old Ben Bazneh, of Stow market, Suffolk, developed ME after his childhood vaccinations at 14 months old. His mother Joanne said: “He was a very lively toddler but after his jab he developed a fever and his glands swelled. He became overwhelmingly tired and never recovered.

“His life is shocking. His brain is normal, he just wants to have fun, but if we let him do too much he becomes shattered and cries, ‘Stupid Mr Tired. I hate him. Tell him to leave me alone’.”

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