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Association between exposure to farm animals and pets and risk of Multiple Sclerosis


Siejka, D and Taylor, B and Ponsonby, A-L and Dwyer, T and van der Mei, I, Association between exposure to farm animals and pets and risk of Multiple Sclerosis, Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, 10 pp. 53-56. ISSN 2211-0348 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2016 Elsevier

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.msard.2016.08.015


Purpose: There exists inconsistent evidence regarding animals including pets as risk factors for the development of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We investigated the association between farm animals and pets as possible environmental factors in MS development.

Methods: Population based case-control study with 136 clinically definite MS cases and 272 controls randomly chosen from the community matched on sex and age. Data was collected from both questionnaire and a lifetime calendar detailing residence, occupation and pet/animal exposure over the course of participant's lives.

Results: Exposure to farming, livestock, specific farm animals and remoteness of residence showed no significant association with MS risk. Exposure to cats prior to disease onset was associated with a greater risk of MS (Adjusted Odds Ratio 2.46 (1.175.18)) but without a clear dose-response (test for trend, p=0.76).

Conclusions: In contrast to other literature, farming and exposure to farm animals were not associated with MS. While we identified an association between cat exposure and MS, there was no dose-response relationship, and previous studies showed inconsistent results, leaving us to conclude that there is no strong evidence that exposure to cats is associated with MS.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Case-control study, Cat, Dog, Farm animals, Multiple Sclerosis, Pets, Remoteness, Risk factor
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Central nervous system
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Siejka, D (Mr Dylan Siejka)
UTAS Author:Taylor, B (Professor Bruce Taylor)
UTAS Author:van der Mei, I (Professor Ingrid van der Mei)
ID Code:111572
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2016-09-22
Last Modified:2017-11-06

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