5Hayder K Hassoun, 1Akram Al Mahdawi, 2Nawfal Shaheed, 3Amanj Jamal, 4Sara Sami

1Faculty of Medicine, Baghdad University, Baghdad, Iraq; 2Baghdad Teaching Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq; 3Hawler Teaching Hospital, Erbil, Iraq; 4Marjan teaching hospital, bayblon, Iraq; 5Faculty of Medicine, Kufa University, Annajaf Al ashraf, Iraq


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive demyelinating and degenerative disease of the CNS which is highly variable geographically. The objectives are to establish a comprehensive nationwide MS epidemiological data and compare it with similar studies conducted in the regional and international countries. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first nationwide comprehensive epidemiological study conducted in Iraq.

Material(s) and Method(s):

Officially authorized MS clinics and centers in Iraq during the year ranged from January 2000 to December 2018. All cases were diagnosed based on Revised 2018 and 2010 McDonald’s criteria and all patient records were reviewed.


Our study found that 68.51% of MS were females with female to male ratio 2.18:1 and 4.07% of patients were diagnosed before they reached 18-year-old. The mean age was 32.3±9.8. The prevalence was found to be 11.73/100,000, it was 16.2/100,000 among females and 7.3 per 100,000 among males. The Incidence was 0.05 in the year 2000 and 1.5 in the year 2017. Initial symptoms were visual 32.06%, motor 28.11%, and 25.58% were sensory symptoms, and 89.97% of the clinical form was relapsing/remitting MS (RRMS) and 81.65% of patients were on first-line treatment. Meanwhile, 66.97% of cases were diagnosed within weeks or months from symptom onset. Summer and especially July had the most frequencies regarding birth season and month.


MS has a significantly increased incidence in Iraq while prevalence is low compared to the neighboring countries. RRMS was the most common clinical form and visual symptoms showed the highest frequency of the first presenting symptoms.