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.

Healthcare Provider Toolkit
ME/CFS Assessment Overview

ME/CFS educational resources to help healthcare providers with patient care, including assessment, managing ME/CFS symptoms and providing other supportive strategies to improve patients’ quality of life.

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Medscape Continuing Medical Education (CME)
members of medscape education

CDC has partnered with Medscape to offer four continuing medical education (CME) activities for healthcare providers. All courses can be accessed by either a desktop computer or a mobile device.


Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Redefining an Illnessexternal icon. In 2015, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), now National Academy of Medicine (NAM), published this, 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:

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on ME/CFS: diagnosis and managementexternal icon

CDC Expert Commentary: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: It’s Real, and We Can Do Betterexternal icon

CDC Medical Student Resources

IACFS Primer for Clinical Practitionersexternal icon

U.S. ME/CFS Clinician Coalitionexternal icon

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

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

Clinical Practice Guidelines for ME/CFS 2016, Alberta, Canada pdf icon[PDF—1.01MB]external icon

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).