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Acta Neurol Scand. 2010 Aug;122(2):102-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.2009.01266.x. Epub 2009 Nov 19.

Multiple sclerosis in the Faroe Islands. 8. Notifiable diseases.

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  • 1Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and MS Center of Excellence-East, 50 Irving Street NW, Washington, DC 20422, USA. mitchell.wallin@va.gov



To seek evidence for a possible infectious origin of the type 1 epidemic of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the Faroe Islands. This began in 1943 coincident with their British military occupation throughout World War II.


Data obtained from the Danish National Health Service were assessed for all notifiable diseases in the Faroe Islands reported from 1900 to 1977.


Among 38 disorders, selective increases were found for acute infectious gastroenteritis (AIGE) and paradysentery, with outbreaks in late 1940 and in 1943 shortly after the introduction and later marked influx, respectively, of British troops. Five other infections showed elevated numbers in 1941 and 1942.


There is a temporal association of AIGE and paradysentery in the Faroe Islands with the first arrival and later marked augmentation of British forces stationed there during the war. Rises in the incidence of other diseases in 1941-1942 seem more likely a consequence of increased foreign commercial travel by Faroese at that time.

(c) 2009 The Authors Journal compilation (c) 2009 Blackwell Munksgaard.

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