How global MS prevalence is changing: A retrospective chart review in the United Arab Emirates

Nicoline Schiess, Katherine Huether, Taghreed Fatafta, Kathryn C. Fitzgerald, Peter A. Calabresi, Iain Blair, Taoufik Alsaadi, Miklos Szolics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder leading to central nervous system inflammation. Traditionally, reported MS prevalence rates in the Middle East are low. Few studies include age/sex standardization giving an unreliable estimate of regional prevalence. Objective to determine the prevalence, incidence and characteristics of MS in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Methods A retrospective chart review was conducted at the four largest hospitals in Abu Dhabi Emirate between 2010 and 2014. Data collected included MS type, age and symptoms at onset, expanded disability status scale, treatment, laboratory findings and family history. Results 510 patients were identified consisting of 318 (62.2%) Emiratis and 192 (37.6%) expatriates. Total crude prevalence rate was 18/100,000 (95% CI: 10-30/100,000). Crude prevalence rate in Emiratis was 57.09 (95% CI:50 to 63/100,000) but increased to 64.44 (95% CI: 57 to 72/100,000) when age standardized. Age-standardized incidence rate in Emiratis was 6.0 MS cases per 100,000 person-years (95% CI: 5.5 to 6.5 cases per 100,000 person-years). Conclusion At 64.44/100,000, the Abu Dhabi Emirati population has one of the highest, most reliable prevalence rate on the Arab peninsula. Age/sex standardized prevalence rates, uncommonly reported in the Middle East, should be standard for all prevalence studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-79
Number of pages7
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Disease modifying therapy
  • Epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Prevalence
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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