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Ciba Found Symp. 1993;173:43-54; discussion 54-61.

Clinical presentation of chronic fatigue syndrome.

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Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a chronic illness of uncertain aetiology characterized by at least six months of debilitating fatigue and associated symptoms. The symptoms of the syndrome are all non-specific and some (but not all) are also seen in psychiatric illness. The symptomatology suggesting an organic component to the illness includes its abrupt onset with an 'infectious-like' illness, intermittent unexplained fevers, arthralgias and 'gelling' (stiffness), sore throats, cough, photophobia, night sweats, and post-exertional malaise with systemic symptoms. The illness can last for years and is associated with marked impairment of functional health status.

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