Research Article

Prevalence of multiple sclerosis in five rural Suffolk practices.

BMJ 1991; 303 doi: (Published 10 August 1991) Cite this as: BMJ 1991;303:347
  1. M J Lockyer


    OBJECTIVE--To determine a point prevalence of multiple sclerosis in part of Suffolk. DESIGN--Multiple source search for patients with multiple sclerosis in five general practices. Patients were reviewed and categorised by using general practice notes. SETTING--Five rural general practices in Suffolk, 12 May 1988. SUBJECTS--31,379 patients registered with five practices. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Multiple sclerosis diagnosed by a specialist. RESULTS--The search produced a provisional list of 62 eligible patients with multiple sclerosis. Review of case notes showed that 48 had probable disease, 10 early disease, and four possible disease. The probable cases gave a crude prevalence of 153/100,000 population (95% confidence interval 109/100,000 to 196/100,000). CONCLUSIONS--Although the results should be interpreted cautiously because of the small sample size, they suggest that the prevalence of multiple sclerosis in Suffolk is higher than has been estimated from hospital data.