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Eur J Epidemiol. 2003;18(2):123-7.

Risk of sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis associated with seropositivity for herpesviruses and echovirus-7.

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Department of Hygiene, Microbiology and Biostatistics, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy.


We examined the association between risk of sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and seroprevalence of antibodies to echovirus-7 (echo-7) and herpesviruses 6, 7, and 8 through a population-based case-control study. We enrolled in a northern Italy area 20 newly diagnosed ALS cases and 20 referents. Risk of ALS was higher in subjects seropositive for echo-7 when we used the immunofluorescent assay, while little increase was noted with the neutralization test. Considering the different characteristics of these two serological assays, these results suggest an association between disease risk and infection with enterovirus (EV) family members (not specifically echo-7). ALS risk was slightly associated with seropositivity of human herpesvirus-6 (odds ratio: 3.2; p = 0.102) and more strongly with human herpesvirus-8 seropositivity (odds ratio: 8.4; p = 0.064), though these point estimates were statistically unstable due to the limited number of observed cases. The findings of this study warrant further investigation in larger studies of the possible etiologic role of EV or herpesvirus infection in sporadic ALS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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