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In European journal of neurology

BACKGROUND : Multiple sclerosis is a rare neurological disease which is addressed by few epidemiological studies in China. This population-based study aimed to estimate the prevalence of multiple sclerosis in China by using national medical insurance databases.

METHODS : Data from the Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance database and the Urban Residence Basic Medical Insurance database, which were collected during 2012-2016 and included approximately 0.20 billion residents in six provinces, were used in this population-based study. The prevalent patients with multiple sclerosis were identified via diagnostic text or disease codes.

RESULTS : The crude prevalence in 2016 was 2.44 per 100 000 population (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.18 to 2.72), with the prevalence of females being higher than that of males. The standardized prevalence (based on 2010 Chinese census data) was 2.29 (95% CI: 2.21 to 2.38). The prevalence in both sexes in 2016 increased up to the age range of 30-34-years-old. Subsequently, the female prevalence declined with increasing age, but the male prevalence stabilized with increasing age. During the five-year time period, the prevalence ranged from 2.32 (95% CI: 2.06 to 2.60) in 2015 to 2.91 (95% CI: 2.39 to 3.47) in 2012.

CONCLUSIONS : The prevalence of multiple sclerosis in China was lower than that in Europe and North America. The temporal trend of prevalence in China was also observed to be stable. As the first prevalence study of multiple sclerosis in mainland China, this population-based study can provide useful information for worldwide health care services and prevention of multiple sclerosis.

Xu Lu, Chen Lu, Wang Shengfeng, Feng Jingnan, Liu Lili, Liu Guozhen, Wang Jinxi, Zhan Siyan, Fan Dongsheng


claim data, epidemiology, insurance, multiple sclerosis, population-based study, prevalence