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Int J Neurosci. 2011 Jul;121(7):393-8. doi: 10.3109/00207454.2011.565893. Epub 2011 Apr 4.

Prevalence of multiple sclerosis in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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Department of Neurology, Rashid Hospital, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai, UAE.



The prevalence of multiple sclerosis (MS) is rapidly changing.


To determine the prevalence and incidence of MS in Dubai, UAE.


Data for all MS patients fulfilling McDonald criteria and registered in the Neurology Department, Rashid Hospital, Dubai between January 01, 2000 to December 12, 2007 were analyzed.


Two hundred and eighty-four MS patients were identified of which 158 (55.6%) were Dubai Natives and 126 (44.4%) Immigrants. In the Dubai Native population, the female to male ratio was 2.85:1. Motor manifestation was the commonest presentation 72.78% followed by sensory symptom 48.41%. The median and mean expanded disability status scale (EDSS) was 1.5 and 2.38 respectively. The mean age of onset was 26.66 ± 6.6 years. The prevalence of MS in 2007 was 54.77/100,000 (95% C.I. 46.99-62.55) with an annual incidence rate of 6.8/100,000 (95% C.I. 3.8-9.87) during 2000-2007.


Dubai should be considered as one of the regions with medium to high risk for MS, with prevalence rate higher than what has been previously believed. This high MS incidence and prevalence in Dubai is surprising and it may represent a true increase. Central MS registry and long-term follow-up epidemiological studies are recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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