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Where To Find The Pediatric Case Definition for CFS/CFIDS/ME
Pediatric Case Definition for CFS/CFIDS/ME
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Where To Find The Pediatric Case Definition for CFS/CFIDS/ME

By 2006, the International Association of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Working Group for a ME/CFS Pediatric Definition developed and published (in the Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, v. 13 n.2/3, 2006) a comprehensive "Pediatric Case Definition for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome." The paper also included an instrument (a comprehensive questionnaire) that doctors and other professionals can use to specifically assess CFS/CFIDS/ME in children.

The International Association of CFS, (now the International Association of CFS/ME) is the international group of CFS/CFIDS/ME researchers and clinicians. Under its auspices, a number of the leading researchers and clinicians in the field of pediatric CFS/CFIDS/ME came together to develop the definition. These included: Dr. Leonard Jason, Dr. David Bell, Dr. Charles Lapp, Dr. Karen Jordan, Dr. Kenny de Meirlier, and Dr. Alan Gurwitt (a long-time member of the Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association), along with other experts.

The entire 2006 Pediatric case definition can be accessed (along with other case definitions) at the M.E. Society for America link:

You can also download a free copy of the pediatric CFS/CFIDS/ME assessment instrument, the DePaul Pediatric Health Questionnaire, for your physician at

In 2008, a slightly revised version of the 2006 pediatric case definition was published:

Jason et al., "A Case Definition for Children with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome," in Clinical Medicine: Pediatrics, 2008: 53-57.

This shorter and revised version can be accessed at the following link: (The 2006 definition is the most comprehensive, along with its assessment instrument; but the 2008 version is probably more readable and usable for general pediatricians. Updated revisions in the 2008 version will be noted below.)

The 2006 Pediatric Case Definition includes sections: "Diagnosis and Prognosis", ‘Differentiate between Diagnoses", "Prevalence of Pediatric ME/CFS", "Changes from the Adult Definition", "Clarification of Diagnostic Criteria", "Psychological Instruments", "Interventions to Increase Quality of Life", and "Suggestions for Future Research on Pediatric ME/CFS". The entire article is 23 pages, although the diagnostic criteria list is 2 ½ pages. We will present a brief summary of the criteria below.

The definition itself contains elements of the 1994 CDC adult case definitions along with the 2003 Reeves et al. revisions. However, the structure of the 2003 Canadian adult ME/CFS definition is prominently incorporated into the new pediatric definition—thereby giving additional weight to symptoms based not exclusively on fatigue.

During the diagnostic process, the doctor "must carry out a thorough evaluation, including a comprehensive medical and developmental history, physical examination and laboratory tests to confirm diagnosis. The history should involve both parents as well as the child..."

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