can multiple sclerosis be transmitted

Can multiple sclerosis be transmitted?

Put simply, no.

No one can give the disease to another by touch or by drinking contaminated water for example. The development of multiple sclerosis (MS) depends on both internal and external factors.

Internal factors


There isn’t any evidence to say that MS passes directly from parent to child, but the genes passed on can influence the chances of developing it. If more of these 100s of possible genes are present in a person then the likelihood of MS increases.


Your sex can also make a difference too as 71% of people living with MS in the UK are women. It means women are around 2.5 times more likely than men to be diagnosed with MS. More research is needed to understand why this might be, but some research suggests it could be linked to hormones.

External factors


People who are in countries with more hours of sunlight often have a much lower prevalence of MS in the world. Studies have suggested that this could be thanks to the amount of vitamin D a person is able to produce, as you’ll find countries further away from the equator have much higher numbers.


There is some evidence from studies that suggests viruses or bacteria can trigger MS. The most common is called Epstein Barr virus, also known as glandular fever. Most people who contract this virus will not go on to develop MS, however, it is thought to be a contributing factor.


Correlations have been found between the consumption of dairy products and MS development. Much like levels of sunlight, countries that eat beef and drink milk often have higher MS populations. There’s been plenty of research into why this might be the case with some interesting conclusions in studies well worth a read.


Studies have shown that smoking can increase your chances of developing MS. Even being exposed to passive smoking can raise your risks.


Studies show that excess weight or being obese, particularly during childhood, can increase your chances of MS. This links back to a lack of vitamin D, as overweight people are often low in vitamin D. Obesity can also make your immune system overactive and cause inflammation in your body. However, not all people who are overweight get MS.

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