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Old 01-12-2011, 11:21 AM
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Dave @ ActiveMSers
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 3,863
Default Got the flu? Study says chances of relapse high

This study was just published on the relationship between influenza and multiple sclerosis relapses. It's not too late to get that flu shot.... Dave

Temporal relationship between environmental Influenza A and Epstein-Barr viral infections and high multiple sclerosis relapse occurrence;Oikonen M, Laaksonen M, Aalto V, Ilonen J, Salonen R, Erälinna JP, Panelius M, Salmi A; Multiple Sclerosis (Jan 2011)
Tags: Herpes Influenza interferon Multiple Sclerosis Viral Infections Read/Add Comments | Email This | Print This | PubMed

Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses have been associated with viral and bacterial infection epidemics in MS patients who have not used interferon.

Objectives: We studied whether environmental viral infections in the general population can be associated with increased MS relapse occurrence using retrospective data from 1986 to 1995 when interferons were not yet available. Methods: Logistic regression modelling was used to compare retrospectively the monthly relapse occurrence from 407 MS patients in Turku University hospital archives and data on ten different specifically diagnosed viral infection epidemics in the general population of Southwestern Finland from 1986 to 1995. The outcome was the odds ratio (OR) of very high relapse occurrence versus low relapse occurrence, or moderate versus low relapse occurrence.

Results: After a peak in diagnosed influenza A cases in the general population, the MS relapse occurrence was 6.5 times more likely to be very high (95% CI 1.8-24.0) and 7.1 times more likely to be moderately high (95% CI 1.5-33.2). An increase in MS relapse counts also followed Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infections (OR 4.4, 95% CI 1.3-15.1), but we found no significant association with adenovirus infections and MS relapses. The MS relapse occurrence was lowest in the summer months July-August (Chi-square test, p<0.01).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that influenza A and EBV viral infections in the general population are associated with a higher occurrence of exacerbations in MS patients, and thus environmental infection data should be included in epidemiological models on MS relapses.
Dave Bexfield
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