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Mult Scler. 2013 Mar;19(3):362-5. doi: 10.1177/1352458512451942. Epub 2012 Jul 5.

Epstein-Barr virus, latitude and multiple sclerosis.

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  • 1Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Several lines of evidence support a role for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in the aetiology of multiple sclerosis (MS). This includes the observation that nearly all MS patients show serological markers of past EBV infection. Given the well-known association between MS prevalence and latitude, we investigated whether EBV seropositivity also increases with distance from the equator. We found that the proportion of EBV positive individuals is positively associated with latitude independently of MS status (odds ratio = 1.06, 95% CI = 1.02-1.09, p = 0.002). Latitude-related factors may be implicated in the immune response to EBV and its role in MS aetiology.

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