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Prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome-like caseness in the working population: results from the Maastricht cohort study
  1. M J H Huibers1,
  2. IJ Kant2,
  3. G M H Swaen2,
  4. S V Kasl3
  1. 1Department of Medical, Clinical & Experimental Psychology, Maastricht University, Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology, Maastricht University, Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M J H Huibers
 Department of Medical, Clinical & Experimental Psychology, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, Netherlands;


Aim: To determine the prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)-like caseness in the working population.

Methods: Using data from the prospective Maastricht Cohort Study on Fatigue at Work, the prevalence and incidence of CFS-like cases (employees meeting research criteria for CFS) were determined among 5499 employees who responded to the follow up assessment 3 years and 8 months after baseline.

Results: Of the 5499 employees, 199 (3.6%) were identified as CFS-like cases. By deleting possible CFS-like cases at baseline, the annual incidence of CFS-like caseness was estimated to be 85 per 10 000. Twenty employees (0.36%) reported having been diagnosed with CFS by a physician.

Conclusions: The prevalence of CFS-like cases (3.6%) was considerably higher than the prevalence of CFS reported in previous studies (0.006–3%). These findings suggest that the CFS-like caseness may be underdetected in the working population and perhaps in other populations as well.

  • prevalence
  • working population
  • chronic fatigue syndrome

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