The comparative clinical and demographic features of neuromyelitis optica (NMO) are not well known. In this review we analyzed peer-reviewed publications for incidence and prevalence, clinical phenotypes, and demographic features of NMO. Population-based studies from Europe, South East and Southern Asia, the Caribbean, and Cuba suggest that the incidence and prevalence of NMO ranges from 0.05-0.4 and 0.52-4.4 per 100,000, respectively. Mean age at onset (32.6-45.7) and median time to first relapse (8-12 months) was similar. Most studies reported an excess of disease in women and a relapsing course, particularly in anti-aquaporin 4 antibody (anti AQP4-IgG)-positive patients. Ethnicity may have a bearing on disease phenotype and clinical outcome. Despite limitations inherent to the review process, themes noted in clinical and demographic features of NMO among different populations promote a more global understanding of NMO and strategies to address it.
Keywords: NMO; demographics; epidemiology; incidence; prevalence.
© The Author(s), 2015.