Idiopathic chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome: A comparison of two case-definitions

Carla Arpino, Maria Patrizia Carrieri, Guido Valesini, Eligio Pizzigallo, Pierangelo Rovere, Umberto Tirelli, Fabrizio Conti, Paola Dialmi, Annamaria Barberio, Nicoletta Rusconi, Oliviero Bosco, Adriano Lazzarin, Alberto Saracco, Maria Luisa Moro, David Vlahov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The aim of the study was to compare the signs and symptoms of individuals meeting two different definitions of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Ninety-four patients fitting the eligibility criteria for idiopathic fatigue were enrolled into the study. Of the 94 patients, 48 met the 1988 definition of CFS, 20 the 1994 (but not the 1988) definition of CFS, and 26 met neither definition. The 1994 defined cases were more likely than 1988 defined cases, and non-syndromal individuals to be male, married, and high school educated. The 1994 cases were less likely than 1988 cases to present acute onset, self reported sore throat, mild fever lymphadenopathy, pharingitis. In conclusion, the 1994 criteria increased the number of patients classified as CFS; however, those who fit only the 1994 criteria were less likely to have an acute symptomatic onset and signs and symptoms suggestive of an infectious process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-441
Number of pages7
JournalAnnali dell'Istituto Superiore di Sanita
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Case-definition
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Clinical evaluation
  • Diagnostic criteria
  • Epidemiology
  • Idiopathic chronic fatigue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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