Background: The monthly multiple sclerosis relapse rate was studied from January 1995 to March 2001 from hospital records in Southwestern Finland as a retrospective open-label study. Methods: The relapse rates of β-interferon users and nonusers were compared to ambient air inhalable particle levels and viral infections in the population with logistic regression. Results: In the non-user group, relapses were more frequent 1 month following the episodes when PM10 was in the highest quartile [logistic regression odds ratio = 1.196 (95% CI = 1.019–1.404), p = 0.028] and following adenovirus epidemics in the general population [logistic regression odds ratio = 2.234 (95% CI = 1.013–4.926), p = 0.046]. PM10 and virus infections had no significant effects in interferon users. Conclusion: In addition to being antiviral, interferon also protected multiple sclerosis patients against an enhanced susceptibility to infections caused by PM10.

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