A severe illness affecting many 1000s of people

No definitive test or cure


The core symptom of ME/CFS is profound and disabling fatigue, which almost always affects both physical and mental functioning. Other symptoms include:

  • Post-exertional malaise or symptom exacerbation
  • Activity or exercise-induced muscle and brain fatigue
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Ongoing Flu-like malaise


A diagnosis of ME/CFS should be made on the basis of the characteristic clinical symptoms listed above.

It is important to exclude other medical and psychiatric conditions that can cause chronic fatigue and other ME/CFS-like symptoms.


Provided the diagnosis is not in doubt, the management of early and less severe cases of ME/CFS can be carried out by general practitioners and other members of the primary healthcare team.

If the illness becomes more chronic and/or severe, consideration should be given towards referring the patient to a hospital-based ME/CFS service where there is a multidisciplinary team that is genuinely interested and informed about ME/CFS.

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