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December 26, 2001

Viruses and Multiple Sclerosis

JAMA. 2001;286(24):3127-3129. doi:10.1001/jama.286.24.3127

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common demyelinating disease of humans. In the United States alone, the prevalence is 250 000 to 350 000 cases.1 Based on data accumulated in 1994, the annual cost was estimated at more than $34 000 per person, translating into a conservative estimate of a national annual cost of $6.8 billion and a total lifetime cost per case of $2.2 million.2 Most MS patients are young. Disease usually begins between ages 15 and 45 years and has a relapsing-remitting course, although a substantial proportion of patients develop chronic progressive disease.

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