Onset-adjusted incidence of multiple sclerosis in the Girona province (Spain): Evidence of increasing risk in the south of Europe.

Onset-adjusted incidence of multiple sclerosis in the Girona province (Spain): Evidence of increasing risk in the south of Europe.

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BACKGROUND:

Recent studies show an increasing incidence of multiple sclerosis (MS) in southern Europe. Although by its geographical location and genetic characteristics Spain is expected to be similar to other southern European regions, data on incidence are scarce. The aim of this study was to determine the onset-adjusted incidence of MS in the Girona province in Catalonia (Spain).

METHODS:

A prospective incidence study pooling data from the population-based Catalonia MS Registry was performed. Incident cases were defined as patients who had the onset of symptoms compatible with a clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) suggestive of MS in 2009 and fulfilled McDonald-2005 criteria during follow-up. Age- and sex-specific incidence rates were obtained.

RESULTS:

The Registry included 182 patients residing in Girona that presented a CIS from January 2009 to December 2013. Fifty one patients had the onset of symptoms in 2009, of whom 27 patients fulfilled the diagnostic criteria, giving an incidence of 3.6 per 100,000 (CI 95% 2.4-5.3) inhabitants; 4.3 (CI 95% 2.5-7.1) for women and 2.9 (CI 95% 1.4-5.2) for men. The age-adjusted incidence rate for the European population was 3.29 (CI 95% 3.2-3.3).

CONCLUSION:

The incidence estimation derived in this study is consistent with recent epidemiological data of MS in southern Europe suggesting an increase in incidence in this region.