Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) in Children

Chronic fatigue syndrome or ME (CFS/ME) is a relatively common condition, affecting between 0.1 and 2% of children aged under 181-4. CFS/ME is defined in the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health evidenced based guidelines of the management of CFS/ME as “generalised fatigue persisting after routine tests and investigations have failed to identify an obvious underlying cause”. The National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recently recommended that a minimum of 3 months of fatigue is required before a diagnosis of CFS/ME is made in children.

CFS/ME has a negative impact on education for most children with the condition. 68% of children report that having CFS/ME prevented them attending school at some stage with a mean time out of school estimated at more than one academic year. Children with CFS/ME can also have poor physical function with over 57% of children being bed bound at some stage. It affects children and young people of all ages.

The early identification and treatment of children and young people with fatigue is important to prevent the long term consequences of social isolation and time away from school.