Acute transverse myelitis: incidence and etiologic considerations

Neurology. 1981 Aug;31(8):966-71. doi: 10.1212/wnl.31.8.966.


There have been few population-based studies of acute transverse myelitis (ATM). Therefore, incidence and population selectivity of this disorder in different regions is not well known. Data on all Jewish patients with ATM throughout Israel were collected for the period 1955 through 1975. Based on 62 patients who satisfied rigid diagnostic criteria, the average annual incidence rate was 1.34 per million population. No significant difference in incidence was noted between European/American-born and Afro/Asian-born populations. There was no significant seasonal or annual fluctuation in frequency. In 37% of the patients, a history of infection prior to ATM was reported, more commonly among younger patients. ATM rarely evolved into multiple sclerosis. More than one-third of the patients with ATM made a good recovery; in another one-third recovery was only fair; 14 patients failed to improve and 3 died. If other population-based studies of ATM were undertaken, comparison with our results might shed further light on the causes of this disorder.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Africa / ethnology
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Asia / ethnology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Europe / ethnology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Israel
  • Jews
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelitis / epidemiology*
  • Myelitis, Transverse / complications
  • Myelitis, Transverse / diagnosis
  • Myelitis, Transverse / epidemiology*
  • Seasons
  • United States / ethnology