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MS Frontiers 2022 | Increasing incidence and prevalence of MS in Tasmania, Australia

Steve Simpson-Yap, PhD, MPH, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, discusses a study in the Greater Hobart region of Tasmania, Australia, on the prevalence and incidence of multiple sclerosis (MS). Having consistently reported the highest prevalence and incidence rates of MS in Australia for many years, there has been a long-standing interest in studying disease in this region. The study, recently published in The British Medical Journal, showed that the prevalence and incidence of MS in the Hobart region has continued to increase significantly, with a 36% increase in prevalence since 2001 and a 65% increase in incidence rate (2009-2019) compared with 2001–2009. This is consistent with the latitudinal gradient of MS (i.e., MS frequency increases with distance away from the equator). Regarding mortality, rates in the years 2009-2019 were comparable to those of the previous decade, but reduced 61% from mortality rates in the 1950s. Dr Simpson-Yap comments on changes in MS risk behaviors that may underly the findings in this area. This interview took place at the MS Frontiers 2022 congress in Swansea, UK.