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Epidemiology of multiple sclerosis in Brazil

      Background: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune chronic disease, characterized by demyelinating of central nervous system. Local studies showed a prevalence around 12.5 to 27.2/100,000 habitants, and literature has evidenced it to be more common in women (71.4% to 76.8%) and Caucasians (77% to 85.7%), both between 35.4 and 37.3 years.
      Objectives: Analyze the epidemiology of MS in Brazil, the shape of distribution through federal unities (FU) and compare the prevalence in men and women.
      Materials and methods: We used secondary information of hospital admissions from DATASUS, since 2008 to 2012, in a form of quotient: number of admissions over FU's population, multiplied by 100,000, in each year, for both genders.
      Results: It was observed a rise of prevalence in the direction North–South. Rio Grande do Sul, alternating with Santa Catarina and Distrito Federal that presented the highest rate (0.9 higher than the national rate, which showed the biggest values in 2011). The lowest numbers were found in Alagoas and Paraíba. The major prevalence occurred in women, about 2.23 times the value of the men, according to the local studies aforementioned, with 95% of reliability.
      Conclusion: From 2008 to 2012, there was a national increase in the prevalence, and an association between the genetic and the concentration of Caucasians was noticed, which may justify the rate at South region, although the link with women is not understood yet.