Prevalence of chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome in Korea: community-based primary care study

J Korean Med Sci. 2005 Aug;20(4):529-34. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2005.20.4.529.


There have been many epidemiological and clinical researches on chronic fatigue (CF) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) since the 1990s, but such studies have been quite limited in Korea. The aim of this study was to investigate the point prevalence of CF and CFS in patients who visited community-based eight primary care clinics in Korea. The study subjects were 1,648 patients aged 18 yr and over who visited one of eight primary care clinics in Korea between the 7th and 17th of May 2001. The physicians determined the status of the subjects through fatigue-related questionnaires, medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. The subjects were categorized into no fatigue, prolonged fatigue, CF and then CF were further classified to medically explained CF (Physical CF and Psychological CF) and medically unexplained CF (CFS and idiopathic chronic fatigue). The point prevalence of CF and CFS were 8.4% (95% CI 7.1-9.7%) and 0.6% (95% CI 0.2-1.0%). Medically explained CF was 80.5% of CF, of which 57.1% had psychological causes. The clinical characteristics of CFS were distinguished from explained CF. CF was common but CFS was rare in community-based primary care settings in Korea.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Chronic Disease
  • Community Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Fatigue / epidemiology*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Korea / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution