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May 4, 2005

Exposure to Infant Siblings During Early Life and Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2005;293(17):2089-2090. doi:10.1001/jama.293.17.2089-a

To the Editor: A strong association between multiple sclerosis (MS) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) seropositivity has been confirmed in prospective studies, supporting the view that past EBV infection may be a prerequisite for the development of MS.1 However, because about 90% of the general population is also EBV seropositive,2 the mechanism by which EBV could be involved in the pathogenesis of MS remains unanswered. The study by Dr Ponsonby and colleagues3 suggests that late EBV infection in particular increases the risk of developing MS, while exposure to EBV early in life may have a marked protective effect.

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