Multiple sclerosis is rare among the indigenous black people of Africa. The first account of a black patient with multiple sclerosis in South Africa was published as late as 1987. Since then a search to find black patients with multiple sclerosis in Southern Africa has continued. Seven black patients have now been traced in South Africa and five in Zimbabwe in whom a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can be accepted. Six of the 12 patients became blind, or nearly so, from severe optic neuritis. Multiple sclerosis in these few black patients more often resembled the disorder as it occurs in oriental people than among white people in southern Africa or the black people of North America or the Caribbean.
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