According to recent research, there has been an increase in the number of cases of chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as persistent exhaustion ot ME, among teenagers in the UK.

Researchers from the University of Bristol have established that the condition affects approximately 2% of 16-year-olds, with twice as many girls suffering from the condition as boys.

The study, which analysed more than 5,000 parents and their offspring, indicated that one in 50 16-year-olds have suffered from CFS for more than six months while one in 33 have experienced symptoms for more than three months.

While it appears both male and female teens were equally affected until the age of 13, researchers in the field established that the condition was more prevalent among girls by the age of 16 while adolescents from poorer socioeconomic were more likely to suffer from it.

Remarking on the study, Dr. Esther Crawley confirmed that experts were still uncertain as to exactly what causes the condition, and asserted that while treatment is effective, very few teens have access to it.

"Children attending my specialist service only attend two days a week of school on average. This means that only the most severe cases are getting help, " she explained. "As paediatricians, we need to get better at identifying CFS/ME, particularly in those children from disadvantaged backgrounds who may be less able to access specialist care."

The condition, which manifests itself as extreme exhaustion regardless of sleep and rest habits, considerably impacts the life of those suffering from it, with Sonya Chowdhury, chief executive of Action for ME, explaining: "The reality is that many young people miss considerably more than half a day of school a week, while for the most severely affected, their disabling symptoms are compounded by the isolation and loss that comes with being housebound and/or bedbound."

The study has been published in Pediatrics.