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SUMMARY: Epilepsy is a common neurological disease in tropical countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Previous work on epilepsy in sub-Saharan Africa has shown that many cases are severe, partly a result of some specific causes, that it carries a stigma, and that it is not adequately treated in many cases. Many studies on the epidemiology, aetiology, and management of epilepsy in sub-Saharan Africa have been reported in the past 10 years. The prevalence estimated from door-to-door studies is almost double that in Asia, Europe, and North America. The most commonly implicated risk factors are birth trauma, CNS infections, and traumatic brain injury. About 60% of patients with epilepsy receive no antiepileptic treatment, largely for economic and social reasons. Further epidemiological studies should be a priority to improve understanding of possible risk factors and thereby the prevention of epilepsy in Africa, and action should be taken to improve access to treatment.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/S1474-4422(14)70114-0

Type

Journal article

Journal

Lancet Neurol

Publication Date

10/2014

Volume

13

Pages

1029 - 1044

Keywords

Africa South of the Sahara, Age Distribution, Anticonvulsants, Birth Injuries, Brain Injuries, Central Nervous System Infections, Drug Utilization, Epilepsy, Humans, Incidence, Malnutrition, Prevalence, Risk Factors, Seizures, Seizures, Febrile, Sex Distribution, Socioeconomic Factors