Multiple sclerosis in South Africa
Since there are no well-documented epidemiological studies on multiple sclerosis (MS) in South Africa, we devised a questionnaire to determine qualitative data. Responses were obtained from 430 patients: 91% had magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, 64% had lumbar punctures and 49% had evoked potentials to establish the diagnosis of MS. A total of 71% of the respondents were aged 30 - 59 years, 73% were female, and 89% were white. In terms of MS type, 46% had relapsing-remitting MS, 13 % secondary progressive MS, 12% primary progressive MS, 12% benign MS, and 17% not known. Disease-modifying treatment was not used by 32% of respondents, and 30% were treated with methotrexate and 22% with interferon beta. These findings are similar to those in the literature, except for the under-utilisation of interferons as disease-modifying treatment.
South African Medical Journal Vol. 98 (5) 2008 pp. 391-393