Oral Communication

Epidemiology of self-reported multiple sclerosis in the French adult population : a transversal study

Ms Audrey CHARLANESa, Dr Claire JOURDANb, Dr Loic JOSSERANDc, Prof Philippe AZOUVIb, Prof François GENÊTb, Dr Alexis SCHNITZLERb

a Service de Médecine Physique et de Réadaptation, Hôpital Raymond Poincaré, APHP, b Service de Médecine Physique et de Réadaptation, Hôpital Raymond Poincaré, APHP ; Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin (HANDIReSP), c Epidemiologie, Hôpital Raymond Poincaré, APHP ; Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin (HANDIReSP)


In France, the epidemiology of multiple sclerosis (MS) and its functional consequences are little known. This study aims to describe prevalence and consequences of MS in the French Population.


Two large population-based surveys « Disability Health Household » and « Disability health institutions » interviewed individuals living in France. Information about medical conditions, impairments, disabilities, and participation restriction was collected. Participants reporting multiple sclerosis as medical condition were specifically analyzed. Through sampling and weighted analysis of 33,896 structured interviews, 49,028,826 individuals living in France were represented.


The study showed a prevalence of self-reported MS of 211.8/100,000 (CI95% 157.5-266.1). The sex ratio was 2.91 (CI95% 1.85-4.57) women for one man. A north/south gradient did not appear. Mean age was 52 years (SD 1.37).

Participants who declared MS reported fatigue for 86.8% (IC95% 79.8-95.8), mobility impairments for 75.9% (IC95% 65.8-86.1) and balance disorders for 65.6% (IC95% 54.6-76.7). Rates were respectively 44.9% (IC95% 44-45.9), 11% (IC95% 10.6-11.5) and 6.4% (IC95% 6.1-6.7) for subjects who did not report MS. Regarding difficulties in carrying out activities of daily living, 24.8% of MS subjects were dependant for washing, 17.3% for transfers, 12% for continence and 7.3% for feeding. 68.9% of subjects had an EDSS score below or equal to 4 and 7.9% higher or equal to 7.5.


Our study showed a higher prevalence of Multiple Sclerosis in France than previous French estimations did (between 60 and 142/100,000). Recent studies completed in other European countries resulted in similar results. This strengthens the hypothesis that prevalence of MS has increased. Improvements in diagnosis of MS and the declarative method of the survey might partly explain this higher prevalence figure. However, further studies would be required to document and explain the increased prevalence of this pathology which has heavy functional consequences.

Keywords : Multiple sclerosis, epidemiology, prevalence, impairment, disability