Suicide is an important public health issue during the current pandemic of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs). In EIDs, various symptoms persist even after recovery, and chronic fatigue is among those that are commonly reported. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of chronic fatigue syndrome on suicidality during the recovery phase among survivors of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). MERS survivors were recruited from five centers and prospectively followed up for 2 years. In total, 63 participants were registered at 12 months (T1), of whom 53 and 50 completed the assessments at 18 months (T2) and 24 months (T3), respectively. Suicidality and chronic fatigue were evaluated using the suicidality module of the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) and the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), respectively. We analyzed the relationship between chronic fatigue and suicidality during the follow-up period using the generalized estimating equation (GEE). The suicidality rates were 22.2% (n = 14), 15.1% (n = 8), and 10.0% (n = 5) at T1–T3, respectively. Of the 63 participants, 29 had chronic fatigue syndrome at T1. The group that reported chronic fatigue syndrome at T1 was more likely to experience suicidality during the 2-year follow-up than the group that reported otherwise (RR: 7.5, 95% CI: 2.4–23.1). This association was present even after adjusting for potential confounders (RR: 7.6, 95% CI: 2.2–26.0). Chronic fatigue syndrome and suicide risk among emerging infectious disease (EID) survivors should be acknowledged, and effective interventions must be developed.
- Chronic fatigue
- Emerging infectious disease
- Middle east respiratory syndrome