In order to think about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome clearly, it's imperative to bring the events that led up to the creation
of CFS into "epidemic" context.
There were many outbreaks globally of similar or identical illnesses before the 1984 outbreak in Incline Village, Nevada, and the
surrounding Lake Tahoe area. There have been many since. But the outbreak in Lake Tahoe is the one that brought the CDC out
to investigate, and the one that gave birth to the name "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome."
Dr. Melvin Ramsay formally coined the name "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis" in 1956, applying it to the Royal Free outbreak in 1955 (see below). After 30 years of investigation into the illness, Ramsay developed a definition of the illness that has stood the test of time. As Dr. Ramsay stated, "Eponyms such as `Akuryeru Disease'. `Iceland Disease' and `Royal Free Disease' have also been used in the case of particular outbreaks. These have the disadvantage that they obscure the all important fact that the disease has been
The World Health Organization has recognized Myalgic Encephalomyelitis as a distinct organic neurological disorder since 1969. However, when the CDC created the term "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome," a great many patients who fit the clinical definition of ME were cut off from a legitimate infectious neurological disease diagnosis, and trapped in the broad wastebasket term "CFS."
Outbreaks prior to the Incline Village manifestation include (but are not limited to):
1934 Los Angeles County Hospital - Atypical Poliomyelitis
1936 Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin - St. Agnes Convent - Encephalitis
1937 Erstfeld, Switzerland - Abortive Poliomyelitis
1937 St. Gallen, Switzerland - Frohburg Hospital – Abortive Poliomyelitis
1939 Middlesex, England - Harefield Sanatorium - persistent Myalgia following sore throat
1939 Degersheim, Switzerland - Abortive Poliomyelitis
1946 Iceland – disease resembling Poliomyelitis with the character of Akureyri disease
1948 Iceland, North Coast towns - epidemic simulating Poliomyelitis
1949 Adelaide, South Australia - a disease resembling Poliomyelitis
1950 Upper State New York - outbreak resembling the Iceland disease…simulating acute Anterior Poliomyelitis
1952 London, England - Middlesex Hospital Nurses' Home - Encephalomyelitis associated with Poliomyelitis virus
1952 Copenhagen, Denmark - epidemic Myositis
1952 Lakeland, Florida - epidemic Neuromyasthenia
1953 Coventry and District, England - an illness resembling Poliomyelitis observed in nurses
1953 Rockville, Maryland - Chestnut Lodge Hospital - Poliomyelitis-like epidemic Neuromyasthenia
1953 Jutland, Denmark - epidemic Encephalitis with vertigo
1954 Seward, Alaska - benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (Iceland Disease)
1954 Berlin, Germany - British army - further outbreak of a disease resembling Poliomyelitis
1954 Liverpool, England - outbreak among medical and nursing staff in a local hospital
1955 Dalston, Cumbria, England – epidemic and sporadic outbreak of an unusual disease
1955 London, England - Royal Free Hospital - outbreak in staff and patients of Benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
1955 Perth, Australia - virus epidemic in waves
1955 Gilfac Goch, Wales - outbreak of benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
1955 Durban City, South Africa - Addington Hospital - outbreak among nurses of "Durban Mystery Disease"
1955 Segbwema, Sierra Leone - outbreak of Encephalomyelitis
1955 Patreksfjorour and Porshofn, Iceland - unusual response to polio vaccine
1955 Northwest London, England - nurses' residential home - acute Infective Encephalomyelitis simulating poliomyelitis
1956 Ridgefield, Connecticut - epidemic Neuromyasthenia
1956 Punta Gorda Florida - outbreak of epidemic Neuromyasthenia
1956 Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, England - Lymphocytic Meningoencephalitis with myalgia and rash
1956 Pittsfield and Williamstown, Massachusetts - benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
1956 Coventry, England - epidemic malaise, benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
1957 Brighton, South Australia - Cocksakie Echo virus Meningitis, epidemic Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
1958 Athens, Greece - nurses' school - outbreak of benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis with periostitis and arthopathy noted.
1958 Southwest London, England - reports of sporadic cases of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
1959 Newcastle Upon Tyne, England - outbreak of benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
1961 New York State - outbreak of epidemic Neuromyasthenia in a convent
1964 Northwest London, England - epidemic malaise, epidemic Neuromyasthenia
1964 Franklin, Kentucky - outbreak of Neuromyasthenia in a factory
1967 Edinburgh, Scotland - sporadic cases resembling benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
1968 Fraidek, Lebanon - benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
1969 Brooklyn, New York - State University of New York Downstate Medical Center - epidemic Neuromyasthenia, unidentified
1970 Lackland Air Force Base, Texas - epidemic Neuromyasthenia
1970 London, England - Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children - outbreak of Neuromyasthenia among nurses
1975 Sacramento, California - Mercy San Juan Hospital - Infectious Venulitis, epidemic Phelobodynia
1976 Southwest Ireland - epidemic Neuromyasthenia, benign Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
1977 Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas - epidemic Neuromyasthenia
1979 Southampton, England - Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
1980 San Francisco, California – epidemic persistent flu-like illness
1981 Stirlingshire, Scotland - sporadic Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
1982 West Otago, Dunedin and Hamilton, New Zealand - Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
1983 Los Angeles, California - initial cases of an unknown, chronic symptom complex involving profound "fatigue"
1984 Lake Tahoe Area of California/Nevada - start of a yearlong epidemic involving over 160 cases of chronic
illness eventually characterized as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Dr. Judy Mikovits - "In Short Order" Radio Interview, 11/04/12:
• "You should consider Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME) as "NON-HIV AIDS"
• "...I see this as an Acquired Immune Deficiency:...
• If so, it's (ME is) still an Acquired Immune Deficiency.