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Title: Prevalence and risk factors for epilepsy in Cameroon
Author: Angwafor, Samuel A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 7159
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available