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How common is multiple sclerosis (MS) in children and teens?

About five percent of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) are diagnosed before 18 years of age and are considered to have pediatric, or childhood onset, MS. Although very rare, children as young as two years old have developed this disease. In the US, it is estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 children and adolescents have MS and many more have experienced symptoms that may lead to a future diagnosis of MS. In fact, many adults with MS report having MS symptoms as a child or teen. This raises the possibility that the diagnosis of MS in children is often delayed until adulthood. More timely diagnosis may lead to an apparent increase in pediatric MS.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.