Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of multiple sclerosis in a population in South Hungary.
Methods: The diagnosis was established with the aid of the Poser diagnostic criteria and the degree of physical disability was determined on the Kurtzke expanded disability status scale (EDSS). The present medical state (EDSS score) was determined from outpatient clinical control tests. The prevalence, the average age at onset of the disease and the proportions of the various clinical forms were calculated, and the patients' disability status was estimated.
Results: In 1996, the prevalence was 65/100,000, and the incidence from January 1, 1995 through December 31, 1996 was 7/100,000/year.
Discussion: During a period of 2 years, the number of diagnosed patients has almost doubled. The disease can be recognized in an early stage with a minimal neurological deficit. The development of the diagnostics necessitates re-examinations with modern diagnostic procedures. During the last 3 years, the general practitioner system has been reorganized, and the working relationships between the clinic and family doctors have developed considerably. A comparison of the present findings with those in other countries with a similar climate revealed very similar prevalence data.