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Update on M.E. in WHO's latest disease classification

January 20, 2020

After years of hard work by M.E. advocate Suzy Chapman, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has doubled back on plans which would have made it even harder for people with M.E./CFS to get the medical care and support they need.

The WHO lists all known diseases in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), using a system of diagnostic codes. Recent proposed changes to the ICD would have resulted in a new diagnosis of Bodily Distress Disorder replacing that which is often reffered to as Medically Unexplained Symptoms, with additional criteria that would capture people with M.E./CFS and direct them through psychiatric care.

Thanks to Suzy's determined and tenacious challenges to this, setting out clear evidence, the WHO has now agreed to include M.E. and CFS in the "exclusions" criteria for the Bodily Distress Disorder classification. This means that health professionals must rule out M.E./CFS before they can diagnose Bodily Distress Disorder. You can read more about the huge amount of work that has gone into this by on Suzy's Dx Revision Watch blog.

Without this work, people with M.E. would have experienced even more misdiagnosis and misunderstanding, and we join the M.E. community in sharing our huge gratitude with Suzy.