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Brits with shingles may be at risk of developing multiple sclerosis

Brits with shingles may be at risk of developing multiple sclerosis
9th June 2011

Brits who have had a shingles or herpes zoster attack could be at a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) in the following year, researchers have found.

Researchers at the Taipei Medical University in Taiwan examined data from over 300,000 patients and found that people with herpes zoster had a 3.96 times risk of developing MS than a control group.

However, authors of the study, which is published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, suggested that MS was less prevalent among Asians than in Western economies, which may make projecting results onto other populations problematic.

Varicella zoster virus, the cause of herpes zoster, has been associated as a trigger for MS in previous studies.

MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and the spinal cord, but scientists remain unsure of the exact causes, which could be triggered by environmental, genetic and viral factors.

Read about Barchester expertise in offering multiple sclerosis support.