A. Achiron, B.-Z. Garty, S. Menascu, D. Magalashvili, M. Dolev, B. Ben-Zeev and O. Pinhas-Hamiel
Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) occurs in young adults and infrequently appears in childhood.
Objectives: To determine the incidence of MS and describe the clinical, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings at onset MS in children in Israel.
Methods: Incidence and case-specific data were obtained through the MS Center Database and Israeli Health Statistics Census Data over 15 years, from 1995 to 2009, and compared between patients with childhood (< 12 years), juvenile (> 12 years, < 18 years) and adult (> 18 years) onset MS.
Results: Of 1129 eligible MS patients, we identified 10 (0.89%) with childhood-onset MS, 74 (6.55%) with juvenile-onset MS, and 1045 (92.56%) with adult-onset MS. There were 0 to 3 incident childhood cases/year, leading to an annual incidence of 0.1/100,000 among Israeli children the incidence of juvenile and adult MS was 2.6 and 5.4/100,000, respectively. Neurological presentation among children with MS was optic neuritis, motor weakness or brainstem involvement. CSF oligoclonal immunoglobulin (IgG) were positive in 62.5%. The most frequent MRI finding was the occurrence of ¡Ý 3 periventricular white matter lesions followed by corpus callosum lesions, with 71% co-occurrence. Cervical and thoracic lesions occurred in 33% and 43%, respectively. Time to second neurological event ranged from 0.3 to 4.2 years and none of the patients with childhood MS reached EDSS=6.0 within a mean follow-up period of 8.4 years.
Conclusions: Childhood-onset MS is rare, with an incidence of 0.1/100,000 Israeli children. Childhood MS does not differ significantly from juvenile and adult-onset MS in terms of clinical, laboratory and imaging findings.