1999 Clinical and Scientific Meeting

P. De Becker, I. Campine, K. De Meirleir.

Human Physiology and Medicine
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

Symptoms and Signs in a Large Cohort of Belgian CFS Patients


To obtain data concerning the epidemiology of the onset of the disease and the distribution and severity of signs and symptoms.


1210 patients who presented themselves at our Fatigue Clinic in the Academic Hospital of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels were questioned about their disease onset (gradual; sudden 'flu-like illness?), were there any agents objectivated that could have caused the disease, how long they had been sick when they visited us, demographical data.

Furthermore, a physician gave a score from 0-3 (0 = absent, 1 = mild, 2 = moderate, 3 = severe) for following signs and symptoms: fatigue, exacerbation of symptoms after physical exercise, sleep disturbance, recurrent 'flu-like illness, sore throat, non-restorative sleep, headaches, cognitive function problems (attention deficit disorder, calculation difficulties, memory disturbances, spatial disorientation, frequently saying the wrong word), psychological problems (depression, anxiety, personality changes, emotional lability, psychosis), changes in visual acuity, seizures, tingling feelings, disequilibrium, tender or palpable lymph nodes, muscle pain and muscle weakness, joint pain, paralysis, twitching muscles, low grade fevers, weight change, allergies, gastro-intestinal disturbances, night sweats, heart palpitations, severe premenstrual syndrome (women), rash of herpes simplex, dry eyes or mouth, cough, cold hands and feet, dyspnoe on exertion, symptoms worsened by extremes of temperature, rashes, hair loss, impotence, chest pain, thyroid inflammation, new sensitivities to medicine, food or other substances, light-headedness, unusual nightmares, difficult to speak, ringing in ears, blackouts, intolerance of bright light, intolerance of alcohol, alteration of taste/smell/hearing, decreased libido, uncomfortable or recurrent urination, pain in prostate, cough.


We collected data on 1210 patients who presented at the outpatient clinic with symptoms of prolonged fatigue. In this group, 752 patients turned out to fulfil the CDC criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome (Fukuda or Holmes). The severity of symptoms and demographic data will be discussed in detail at the conference.


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