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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2004 Dec;58(12):1032-5.

Multiple sclerosis after infectious mononucleosis: record linkage study.

Author information

  • 1Unit of Health-Care, Department of Public Health, University of Oxford, Old Road, Oxford OX3 7LF, UK. michael.goldacre@dphpc.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To ascertain if infectious mononucleosis is a risk factor for the development of multiple sclerosis (MS); and, if it is, whether its effect is close to or remote in time from the onset of MS.

DESIGN:

Analysis of database of linked abstracts of records of hospital admission and death.

SETTING:

Health region in central southern England.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Ratio of rate of MS in a cohort of people admitted to hospital with infectious mononucleosis to the rate in a comparison cohort.

RESULTS:

Considering all time intervals from admission with infection to admission with MS, there was a non-significant increase of risk of MS in the infectious mononucleosis cohort (rate ratio 2.17, 95% confidence intervals 0.79 to 4.77). At the interval of 10 years or more, there was a significant increase in risk of MS (rate ratio 4.01, 1.48 to 8.93). The mean time from infectious mononucleosis to first admission with MS was 14 years.

CONCLUSION:

This study adds support to the evidence that Epstein-Barr virus, the cause of infectious mononucleosis, is associated with MS. Its role is probably as an initiator of the disease process of MS, or as a contributor to its early development, rather than as an activator of latent, existing disease.

PMID:
15547068
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1732628
Free PMC Article
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