MS and infections



Administrative data suggest that infection-related health care utilization is generally greater for patients with MS across all age groups compared with the general population [1-4].


For instance, data collected between 1996 and 2013 in British Columbia, Canada (7,179 MS cases and 35,837 controls) showed that, relative to controls, MS patients [2]:


  • were over twice as likely to be hospitalized for infection (aOR: 2.39, 95% CI: 2.16-2.65)
  • had 41% more infection-related physician visits (aRR: 1.41, 95% CI: 1.36-1.47)
  • filled 57% more infection-related prescriptions* (aRR: 1.57, 95% CI: 1.49-1.65).



According to this study and another Canadian Claims data evaluation, typical infections triggering health care utilization in MS patients were pneumonia [2,3], influenza [3], urinary tract infections [2,3], pressure ulcers [2,3] and sepsis [2]. Health care utilization due to upper respiratory tract infections was also high, but remained in the same range for people with MS and controls [2].


Older age, male sex, worse physical disability, and lower socioeconomic status were associated with increased infection-related hospitalization rates in MS [3]. Other evaluations report that exposure to immunosuppressive therapies increases the risk for infectious complications in patients with MS [5-7].



*included antimicrobials for oral or parenteral use, including antibiotics, antivirals, or antimycotics.



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