Definitions of ME and CFS

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Over the course of three decades, many definitions or criteria have been developed to diagnose either ME, CFS or ME/CFS and SEID.


The International Consensus Criteria is currently used in some research and by few clinicians in some countries. Ramsay definition, Nightingale definition and London criteria are currently not in use.


The Holmes criteria is currently not in use. The Oxford criteria is used in the UK by clinicians and researchers. Fukuda criteria is used in research by several countries including the USA and sometimes in the UK. Reeves criteria is currently being used in the NIH Post-Infectious ME/CFS Study but overall it is not in use.

Combined (ME/CFS)[edit]

The Canadian Consensus Criteria is sometimes used by clinicians and for research in many countries but has not been officially adopted by most countries including the USA. NICE guidelines are used by clinicians in the UK.


Proposed for use in the USA in clinical settings but has not been officially implemented. The NIH Post-Infectious ME/CFS Study is using this criteria along with three other criteria.

Note on Definition flaws[edit]

Definitions with a asterisk (*) are considered to be by most ME/CFS patients, many ME/CFS patients groups, and several ME/CFS researchers as being seriously flawed in that these criteria capture individuals suffering from Chronic Fatigue and not Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease.


See also[edit]

Learn more[edit]

See: Comparative Graphs - Case Definition Comparison - Graph 1

See also[edit]


  1. The Clinical Features of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
  2. The Nightingale Definition of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.)
  3. Myalgic encephalomyelitis: International Consensus Criteria
  4. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). Criteria and clinical guidelines 2014.
  5. Chronic fatigue syndrome: a working case definition.
  6. A report--chronic fatigue syndrome: guidelines for research.
  7. The chronic fatigue syndrome: a comprehensive approach to its definition and study. International Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Study Group.
  8. Chronic fatigue syndrome--a clinically empirical approach to its definition and study.
  9. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Clinical Working Case Definition, Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols
  10. Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (or encephalopathy): diagnosis and management
  11. Proposed Diagnostic Criteria for ME/CFS

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.

From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history