The social and occupational consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic among patients with multiple sclerosis in three distinct populations: A web-based cross-sectional survey

Consecuencias sociolaborales de la pandemia por la COVID-19 en pacientes con esclerosis múltiple en tres poblaciones muy diferentes: Encuesta transversal basada en la web


The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes the disease COVID-19, has caused a pandemic that has rapidly affected the whole world and caused a significant threat to public health. The aim of this study was to investigate and analyze the social and occupational effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) in three different countries: China, Spain, and Cuba.


A cross-sectional survey was designed to assess the social and occupational effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in MS patients in these three countries, using a 25-item anonymous online questionnaire, structured into three sections. Quantitative data are expressed as mean (standard deviation), and quantitative data as absolute frequency and percentage.


A total of 361 participants responded to the questionnaire: 194 from China, 104 from Spain, and 63 from Cuba. We found no cases of COVID-19 among Chinese patients with MS, and few cases in Spain and Cuba. Respondents reported different levels of impact on relationships with friends, family, and colleagues, and patients in all three countries described increased use of digital or social media platforms. Spanish patients reported a significantly less negative impact than those in Cuba and China. Mental and cognitive effects were similar in all three countries, although China seemed to have a better situation. We also found that the time spent exercising decreased at specific points during the pandemic, but with few changes in dietary habits. Patients reported little or no change in their means of transport in all three countries. Most patients in all three countries reported little or no physical deterioration, especially in Chinese patients (82.47%), compared to the Spanish (70.20%) and Cuban respondents (73.02%). In general, patients from all three countries demonstrated confidence in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, although to a lesser extent among Spanish respondents.


During the pandemic, family support was more effective in China than in Cuba and Spain. Neither COVID-19 infections nor the number of MS relapses increased significantly during lockdown in any of the three countries. Regarding their economic situation, Spanish MS patients reported a significantly less severe negative impact than those in Cuba and China. Patients from all three countries used digital or social media platforms more frequently, probably to maintain personal relationships. Chinese and Cuban respondents were more confident of the control of the pandemic than the Spanish, who were more pessimistic.

Enlazar con artículo