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Myalgic encephalomyelitis nomenclature

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Disease classification WHO
G93.3 Postviral fatigue syndrome
Benign myalgic encephalomyelitis

Main article: Myalgic encephalomyelitis


A number of different terms are used, or have been used in the past, to label patients suffering from myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). These terms are not merely alternative names, but denote different diagnoses that target the same condition, groups of conditions to which ME belongs, subsets of ME, or overlapping conditions.[1]

The label used for a condition has consequences for how medical professionals view the condition. In one study, medical trainees considered myalgic encephalopathy as more serious than Florence Nightingale disease and especially chronic fatigue syndrome.[2]

Umbrella diagnoses

Effort syndrome
Muscular rheumatism

Alternative diagnoses

Low natural killer (cell) syndrome
Atypical poliomyelitis
Epidemic neuromyasthenia
Iceland disease or Akureyri disease
Royal Free disease
Tapanui flu

Working diagnoses

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
Chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS)
Yuppie flu


Related terms



  1. Lavrich C, Kenney KK, Lapp C, Herd J, Kahn D, Levine S, Klimas NG, Jason LA (2003), "Recommendations of the Name Change Workgroup Presented to DHSS CFS Advisory Committee", Sep
  2. Jason LA, Taylor RR, Plioplys S, Stepanek Z, Shlaes J (2002), "Evaluating attributions for an illness based upon the name: chronic fatigue syndrome, myalgic encephalopathy and Florence Nightingale disease", Am J Community Psychol 30(1):133–48 Feb, pmid=11928774
  3. Carson R (2008), "Founder’s Corner: Fair Name Campaign Update - Exciting New Direction", May 19, 20081210
  4. Ramsay AM (1986), "Postviral Fatigue Syndrome. The saga of Royal Free disease", London, ISBN 0-906923-96-4