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Prevalence and risk factors for epilepsy in Cameroon

Angwafor, Samuel A; (2018) Prevalence and risk factors for epilepsy in Cameroon. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This project was designed to ascertain the prevalence and risk factors for epilepsy in a rural health district in the North-West Region of Cameroon. A community-based epilepsy screening targeted all inhabitants, six years and older, in all 16 health areas in the Batibo Health District. During door-to-door visits, fieldworkers used a validated questionnaire to interview consenting heads of households about the possibility of epilepsy in eligible residents of the house. All people with suspected epilepsy were subsequently assessed by a physician who confirmed or refuted the epilepsy diagnosis after clinical assessment. People with epilepsy and randomly selected healthy subjects were interviewed by a nurse who obtained relevant demographic details and information on exposure to risk factors for epilepsy. Out of 39,527 permanent residents screened, 546 had active epilepsy. The age-standardised prevalence of active epilepsy was 3.5% (95% CI: 3.2-3.9). The prevalence of active epilepsy varied widely between health areas, ranging between 1.2% and 7.7%. The peak age-specific prevalence was in the 20-29 age group. Epilepsy was focal in 59% of people, and the median age at first seizure was 11 years (Interquartile range: 8-15). The 1-year incidence of epilepsy was estimated to be 171/100,000 (95%CI: 114.0-254.6). About 81% of people with epilepsy were either untreated or receiving inappropriate treatment. Family history of epilepsy was the main factor associated with epilepsy after multivariate analysis (OR: 6.8; 95% CI: 3.2-14.1). The characteristics of active epilepsy in this Cameroonian population, mainly the geographical heterogeneity and the pattern of the age-specific prevalence suggest that cysticercosis and/or onchocerciasis may be involved. These and other risk factors for epilepsy need to be further investigated through robust case-control and prospective studies in this population. We briefly discuss public health strategies that may useful in redressing the burden of epilepsy in Cameroon.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Prevalence and risk factors for epilepsy in Cameroon
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10058536
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