Document Type : Original Article
Clinical Neurology Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Student Research Committee, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Department of MPH, Shiraz Medical School, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Background: Neurological disability associated with multiple sclerosis and immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory therapy which is administered for it may increase the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and its morbidity/mortality.
In this study, we evaluated the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with multiple sclerosis based on their demographic and disease data.
Methods: A total of 1361 multiple sclerosis patients from Fars province were interviewed by phone from April 3 to June 20, 2020. Basic demographic data, information about their disease and any symptoms or laboratory results relevant to COVID-19 were gathered.
Results: Among the studied patients, 68 ones (5%) were COVID-19 suspected cases and 8 ones (0.58%) were in the confirmed group. Five cases in the confirmed group needed hospitalization. Two patients died while both of them were taking rituximab. The frequency rate of suspected cases with RRMS was 57 (87.7%), followed by 5 (7.7%) PPMS and 2 (3.1%) CIS. In the confirmed group, 25% used corticosteroid drug and 50% were on rituximab; moreover, 62.5% of the confirmed cases had a high disability level and needed assistance to walk. In whole, 36.8% of the suspected and 25% of the confirmed cases were on IFN-β1; eventually, all of them recovered well from COVID-19 infection.
Conclusion: In the present study, the rate of developing COVID-19 in multiple sclerosis patients was similar to the general population and most of patients with multiple sclerosis recovered from COVID-19 without referral to a medical specialist.