The following article is part of live conference coverage from the 2017 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. Neurology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from AAN 2017.

BOSTON — Prior exposure to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), in addition to vitamin D deficiency, may increase the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) during childhood, according to research presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) held April 22-28, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Shayandokht Taleb, MD, from the department of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues conducted a large case-control study recruiting children with MS or clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) and frequency-matched controls from 16 pediatric MS centers across the United States.

Dr. Taleb and colleagues tested EBV-viral capsid antigen, Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen-1, EBV-early antigen, cytomegalovirus, HSV-1 and HSV-2 serostatus, and 25-(OH)-vitamin D levels from 360 children with pediatric-onset MS or CIS (mean age 15.2 ± 3.2; 64% females; mean disease duration 354 days ± 321) and 496 children in the control group (mean age: 14.3 ± 3.8; 52% females).

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After adjusting for possible confounders such as age, sex, race, and ethnicity, a remote infection with EBV (anti-EBNA1+) was strongly associated with a higher risk of pediatric-onset MS (OR 3.6; 95% CI 2.1-6.3). HSV-1 seropositivity was also associated with pediatric-onset MS (OR 1.4; 95% CI 1.001-2.011).

There was an increasing trend towards the risk of developing MS in a pediatric population with lower serum levels of vitamin D. There was also a 3% reduction in the risk for developing pediatric MS for each 1 mg increase in 25-(OH)-vitamin D serum levels (OR 0.77; 95% CI 0.93-1.01).

“Our preliminary results support an association between prior EBV and HSV-1 infection, and vitamin D deficiency and development of pediatric-onset MS,” concluded the researchers.

Analyses stratifying by DRB1*1501 status are ongoing.

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Taleb S, Nourbakhsh B, Graves J, et al. Environmental risk factors associated with pediatric MS: The role of remote viral infections and vitamin D revisited. Presented at: The 2017 AAN Annual Meeting. April 22-28, 2017; Boston, MA. Abstract S44.003.

This article originally appeared on Infectious Disease Advisor