In a case-control study of 214 patients with multiple sclerosis, recall of infectious mononucleosis in subjects seropositive for Epstein-Barr viral capsid antigen was associated with a relative risk of 2.9 (95% CI 1.1 to 7.2). Those who reported having infectious mononucleosis before the age of 18 years had a relative risk of multiple sclerosis of 7.9 (95% CI 1.7 to 37.9). The pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis may involve an age-dependent host response to Epstein-Barr virus infection.
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