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Eur J Neurol. 2012 Apr;19(4):655-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2011.03529.x. Epub 2011 Oct 4.

The prevalence of neuromyelitis optica in South East Wales.

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The Department of Psychological Medicine and Neurology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.



Neuromyeltis optica (NMO) is a neuroinflammatory disorder considered rare in Caucasian populations. However, accurate population-based epidemiological data for NMO and NMO spectrum disorder (NMO-SD) from Western populations employing validated diagnostic criteria remain limited. We sought therefore to estimate the prevalence and clinical features of NMO in a north European Caucasian population in South East Wales.


Patients were identified by a comprehensive, multistage ascertainment strategy employing a regional neuroinflammatory disease register, hospital diagnostic databases personal physician referrals and regional requests for anti-aquaporin-4 antibodies (anti-AQP4).


Fourteen Caucasian patients (11 patients with NMO and three with NMO-SD) were identified in a population of 712,572 (19.6/million; 95% CIs: 12.2-29.7). There was an excess of females (female:male 12:2), 11/14 were anti-AQP4 positive and 5/14 had disease onset under the age of 20 years.


This study suggests that NMO and related spectrum disorders are at least as frequent in Northern European populations as in non-Caucasian populations and that the demographic profile of prevalent patients differs from clinic-based cohorts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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