The corona-virus, COVID-19, is a respiratory virus that is transmitted from person to person. The virus began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and has since spread worldwide. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. The virus spreads through direct contact with other individuals who have been infected, particularly through coughing and sneezing. When the virus lands on hard surfaces and an individual touches that surface and proceeds to touch their nose, face, or mouth, they are at risk for transmission. The virus is more likely to spread in group settings, so it is recommended to avoid gatherings or groups of 10 or more.
Having multiple sclerosis does not increase the risk of developing COVID-19; however, certain factors associated with MS could increase the risk of infection. These factors include taking certain disease-modifying therapies, having lung disease or heart disease, significantly restricted mobility (spending most of your day seated or in bed), or being older than the age of 60. Often times, when the body is responding to infection, there may be a worsening of MS symptoms. For example, patients with MS may experience worsening fatigue, numbness, difficulty thinking, and/or vision problems if they become infected.
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