Evidence for multiple sclerosis as an infectious disease

S. D. Cook, C. Rohowsky‐Kochan, S. Bansil, P. C. Dowling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Evidence for a viral cause of multiple sclerosis (MS) is indirect since no infectious agent has been reproducibly isolated from MS tissues nor has viral genome or antigen been consistently identified. The occurrence of spontaneous human and animal models of demyelination, serologic studies, and epidemiologic data provide pursuasive circumstantial evidence for an infectious trigger in this disease. Potential mechanisms for viral induced demyelination include persistent infection of host tissues or immune mediated organ damage either in the presence or absence of the infectious agent. Any proposed viral candidate should cause demyelination in animals or man and the pattern of infection should be consistent with the unique geographic features of MS epidemiology. In addition, serologic studies should support an infection by the agent and/or viral genome should be detected in MS tissues. At this time no virus can be unequivocally linked to MS but cumulative evidence is more supportive of canine distemper virus than other viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number161 S
StatePublished - Apr 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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