Information for Healthcare Providers

Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex, chronic, debilitating disease with systemic effects. ME/CFS is characterized by reduced ability to perform pre-illness activities that lasts for more than 6 months and is accompanied by profound fatigue, which is not improved by rest. A hallmark of ME/CFS is that symptoms can worsen after physical, mental, or emotional effort, a manifestation known as post-exertional malaise (PEM). Patients with ME/CFS also have unrefreshing sleep. Other common manifestations are orthostatic intolerance, cognitive impairment, and pain. As can be observed in people with other long-term chronic illnesses, secondary psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety may also be present in some patients with ME/CFS.

health care workers

Medscape Continuing Medical Education (CME)
members of medscape education

CDC is pleased to launch the third Medscape continuing medical education (CME) activity for healthcare providers “Diagnosing Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: The Experts Weigh In.”

The goal is to increase recognition of symptoms of ME/CFS by using the Institute of Medicine (IOM) diagnostic criteria for patient assessment. The faculty include Lucinda Bateman, MD, Natalie Azar, MD, Nancy Klimas, MD, and José Montoya, MD.

The video is intended for all healthcare providers with an emphasis on the primary care providers. The course, hosted by Medscape, provides CME/CE credit.


Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Redefining an IllnessExternal. In 2015, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), now National Academy of Medicine (NAM), published the report on ME/CFSExternal, in which the IOM committee summarized the evidence base and proposed redefining the diagnostic criteria to facilitate timely diagnosis and to improve understanding of the illness among healthcare professionals and the public. Additional resources include:

IACFS Primer for Clinical Practitioners Cdc-pdf[PDF – 2.49MB]External

Clinical Practice Guidelines for ME/CFS 2016, Alberta, CanadaExternal

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosis and Management in Young People: A Primer.External Front. Pediatr., 19 June 2017.

NINDS/CDC Common Data Elements (CDEs) for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)External

Disclaimer: The findings and conclusions in these documents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Elizabeth Unger, CDC’s expert on ME/CFS, describes how to recognize and manage this debilitating illness.