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ME/CFS Symptom Checklist
Availability
Please contact CDC ME/CFS Program (cfs@cdc.gov) for obtaining the instrument and scoring algorithm.
Classification
Core: Myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) (Alternatively, the full DePaul Symptom Questionnaire may be used.)
Short Description of Instrument
The ME/CFS Symptom Checklist is a self-reported set of questions including the CDC Symptom Inventory for CFS and non-overlapping questions from the DePaul Symptom Questionnaire (questions 14-19, 32-34, 45-66) following the approach used as part of the Multi-Site Clinical Assessment of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (MCAM) study. Initial questions ask about the history of fatiguing illness, effect of fatigue on function and effect of rest on fatigue. Questions from the CDC Symptom Inventory query symptom presence, frequency and intensity over the past month. Symptoms included are fatigue, sore throat, tender lymph nodes and swollen glands, diarrhea, fatigue after exertion, muscle aches and pains, joint pain, fever, chills, unrefreshing sleep, sleeping problems, headaches, memory problems, concentration, nausea, stomach or abdominal pain, sinus or nasal problems, shortness of breath, sensitivity to light, depression, and other symptoms. Patients are also asked to indicate their most bothersome symptom. Twenty-six questions from the DePaul Symptom Questionnaire ask about frequency and severity of additional symptoms over the past 6 months. This combination covers all symptoms included in current research case definitions.
Rationale/Justification
It is essential for every study of ME/CFS to collect detailed information about the duration of the illness, onset of illness and symptoms of the illness. — This is an illness defined exclusively by symptoms, and application of each of the current case definitions of ME/CFS requires detailed information on frequency and severity of symptoms.
References
Unger ER, Lin JS, Tian H, Natelson BH, Lange G, Vu D, Blate M, Klimas NG, Balbin EG, Bateman L, Allen A, Lapp CW, Springs W, Kogelnik AM, Phan CC, Danver J, Podell RN, Fitzpatrick T, Peterson DL, Gottschalk CG, Rajeevan MS; MCAM Study Group. Multi-Site Clinical Assessment of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (MCAM): Design and Implementation of a Prospective/Retrospective Rolling Cohort Study.Am J Epidemiol. 2017;185(8):617–626.
 
Brown AA, Jason LA. Validating a measure of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome symptomatology. Fatigue: Biomed Health Behav. 2014;2(3):132–152.
 
Jason LA, So S, Brown AA, Sunnquist M, Evans M. Test-Retest Reliability of the DePaul Symptom Questionnaire. Biomed Health Behav. 2015;3(1):16–32.
 
Jason LA, Sunnquist M, Brown A, Furst J, Cid M, Farietta J, Kot B, Bloomer C, Nicholson L, Williams Y, Jantke R, Newton JL, Strand EB. Factor Analysis of the DePaul Symptom Questionnaire: Identifying Core Domains. J Neurol Neurobiol. 2015;1(4).
 
Murdock KW, Wang XS, Shi Q, Cleeland CS, Fagundes CP, Vernon SD. The utility of patient-reported outcome measures among patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. Qual Life Res. 2017;26(4):913–921.
 
Strand EB, Lillestøl K, Jason LA, Tveito, K, Diep LM, Valla SS, Sunnquist M, Helland IB, Herder I, Dammen T. Comparing the DePaul Symptom Questionnaire with physician assessments: a preliminary study. Fatigue: Biomed Health Behav. 2016;4:52–62.
 
Wagner D, Nisenbaum R, Heim C, Jones JF, Unger ER, Reeves WC. Psychometric properties of the CDC Symptom Inventory for assessment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Popul Health Metr. 2005;3:8.
Recommended Instrument for
ME/CFS
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