This collection of research papers addresses fundamental questions concerning the nature of myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), the problem of disbelief and lack of knowledge and understanding of the condition among many doctors and the origins of this problem, and its impact on patients and their families. We report briefly the growing knowledge of the underlying pathological processes in ME/CFS, and the development of new organizations, including Doctors with ME, the US ME/CFS Clinical Coalition and EUROMENE, to address aspects of the challenges posed by the illness. We discuss the implications of COVID-19, which has much in common with ME/CFS, with much overlap of symptoms, and propose a new taxonomic category, which we are terming post-active phase of infection syndromes (PAPIS) to include both. This collection of papers includes a number of papers reporting similar serious impacts on the quality of life of patients and their families in various European countries. The advice of EUROMENE experts on diagnosis and management is included in the collection. We report this in light of guidance from other parts of the world, including the USA and Australia, and in the context of current difficulties in the UK over the promulgation of a revised guideline from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). We also consider evidence on the cost-effectiveness of interventions for ME/CFS, and on the difficulties of determining the costs of care when a high proportion of people with ME/CFS are never diagnosed as such. The Special Issue includes a paper which is a reminder of the importance of a person-centred approach to care by reviewing mind–body interventions. Finally, another paper reviews the scope for prevention in minimizing the population burden of ME/CFS, and concludes that secondary prevention, through early detection and diagnosis, could be of value.
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