The use of the term “Yuppie Flu”: Another plea to journalists


Copy to: Colin Fernandez, Gill Swain, Daily Mail; edited version to Editor:

The use of the term “Yuppie Flu”: Another plea to journalists and sub editors

Sufferers of ME are not sufferers of “Yuppie Flu” and ME campaigners are not “Yuppie Flu Campaigners”.

ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) is classified by the World Health Organisation as a neurological illness (WHO ICD-10 G93.3).

“Yuppie Flu” was first coined by the media some years ago and its continued use misrepresents a seriously debilitating illness ruining the lives of thousands of children, some as young as four or five – as well as adults of all ages and from all backgrounds.

The Daily Mail has given extensive coverage to the recent death of severe ME sufferer, Lynn Gilderdale, which includes sensitive additional reporting and commentary by journalist Gill Swain.

But the main article, as it stands online, has a headline which includes the phrase “‘yuppie-flu’ daughter” despite the fact that towards the end of the article it states Until then [publication of the CMO’s Report] victims of myalgic encephalomyelitis were often dismissed as having ‘yuppie flu’, as its symptoms were considered particularly common among overworked middle-class professionals.”

Who was responsible for this headline? The sub editor?

For how much longer is the media going to perpetuate this denigrating and inaccurate term?

Sensitive, accurate and informed coverage of ME by the media is always welcomed but please sub editors and journalists, on behalf of all of us with children and young people whose lives are on hold because of this horrible illness stop using this tired, trite and grossly misleading term.

No more “yuppie flu”.

Not even “which used to be known as ‘yuppie flu'” or “which used to be dismissed as ‘yuppie flu'”.



Links to media coverage on ME agenda:

08 December:


09 December: