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Will Covid-19 lead to a rise in MS?

Many diseases, both chronic and acute, are caused, or at least linked, to a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental triggers. My fiancee, during the time period between when she was diagnosed with RRMS and her transition to PPMS, developed bacterial meningitis. It's hard to prove causality, but I know this topic has come up here. I'm curious to hear some thoughts.

  1. Hi , that's a very good question. My own personal thoughts are that I think we might. Many people with MS tend to have some sort of event, illness or injury, that they can point to that seems to be a trigger. Something happens that gets the immune system going and then when that ailment is done, the immune system doesn't stop and turns itself on our nervous system. That's something I've always thought anyway, just from the various stories I've heard from others with MS. That includes me, I too developed meningitis in the year prior to me being diagnosed with MS. I've had many doctors share that line of thinking with me as well. I don't see these types of things as the cause of MS, but rather, maybe something that helps trigger it and gets it going (again, my personal opinion). So I could totally see how having more people sick in general (with a serious illness) could lead to a greater number of people eventually being diagnosed with MS. I do think, on the flip side of that, that there may be plenty of folks who might get MS, are primed to have it, but never have an event that triggers it, never have something that really gets their immune system going as hard as other peoples. Again, just my thoughts. It's a very interesting question though.

    1. , the way MS was explained to me, and this was forty years ago, a person might have some sort of predisposition for an autoimmune disease that might be triggered by a virus of some sort. It was the combination that seemed critical to me. Otherwise, we might expect to see a rise in MS diagnoses with any pandemic virus, such as my personal favorite pandemic, the swine flu outbreak of 1968.

    2. Exactly, the combination of those things is important. It will be interesting to see if more cases do pop up after the pandemic as it increases the chances of those combinations occurring. I think it's hard to look at previous outbreaks because MS has been so hard to acurately diagnose in the past (ok, even now there is difficulty properly diagnosing it)

  2. In basic training I had a lot of shots in one day and i had my first MS symptom just weeks later. So i believe the covid shot could affect MS. i am waiting till my doctors say it's ok to get the shot

    1. Hi . I am glad your are planning to talk with your doctor about the vaccine. The vaccine does create an immune reaction, so it always possible that the stress on your body will trigger a flare, but you have to weigh that against the dangers of contracting Covid. The National MS Society pulled today a panel of experts to make recommendations about the vaccines when they were first approved. Here is a link to the recommendations they made: I thought it might interest you as you make your decision. Best wishes! - Lori (Team Member)

  3. Hello. Interesting thought. I'll give you my two cents. Our family is riddled with autoimmune disease. Mostly RA, but also lupus, sarcoidosis, and MS. After I was diagnosed I considered this and noticed that a short while before each and every diagnosis was a period of extreme stress for that person. In my own case as well (MS). So I'm thinking when extreme stress occurs, maybe whatever is weakest in your body rears its ugly head. In our family that just happens to be autoimmune. Illness is certainly stress-causing.

    1. That makes sense to me, .
      Lori (Team Member)

  4. A loaded gun is a harmless hunk of metal - until you pull the trigger.

    1. We hear you Teddy. I know a lot of MS community members are concerned about the vaccine and any reactions that can come from it. I really hope everyone's words above and Lori's links help for information. Warmly, Kayleigh, Team

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