Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa); Brain and Mind Institute


Background: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the leading cause of non-traumatic neurological disability in young adults. There is limited literature regarding the burden of MS in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Objective: To describe the demographic and clinical characteristics of patients with MS (PwMS) presenting to a tertiary referral hospital in Nairobi.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective descriptive study for PwMS presenting to Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi from 2008–2018.

Results: 99 cases met the diagnostic criteria for MS with a male to female ratio of 1:4. Majority (68.7%) of PwMS were indigenous Africans with a mean age of onset of 30.7 years. Mean duration from symptom onset to first neuro-imaging was 5.04 years. Only 33% of patients had sensory symptoms at onset whereas 54.5% had vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency. Majority (79.5%) had relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) and 56.6% were initiated on disease modifying therapy (DMT). Only 21.2% of patients on DMT were non-compliant. Patients with RRMS were more likely to be initiated on DMT at our hospital (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Clinical characteristics of these patients largely resemble those of other SSA cohorts and African American patients. There was a delay between symptom onset and neuroimaging. There were also issues with DMT compliance.


Multiple Sclerosis Journal – Experimental, Translational and Clinical