Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 263-277

Epilepsy in India I: Epidemiology and public health


1 Department of Epidemiology, Centre for Public Health, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Director/Vice-chancellor and Professor of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Gopalkrishna Gururaj
Department of Epidemiology, Centre for Public Health, Bangalore, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-2327.160093

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Of the 70 million persons with epilepsy (PWE) worldwide, nearly 12 million PWE are expected to reside in India; which contributes to nearly one-sixth of the global burden. This paper (first of the two part series) provides an in-depth understanding of the epidemiological aspects of epilepsy in India for developing effective public health prevention and control programs. The overall prevalence (3.0-11.9 per 1,000 population) and incidence (0.2-0.6 per 1,000 population per year) data from recent studies in India on general population are comparable to the rates of high-income countries (HICs) despite marked variations in population characteristics and study methodologies. There is a differential distribution of epilepsy among various sociodemographic and economic groups with higher rates reported for the male gender, rural population, and low socioeconomic status. A changing pattern in the age-specific occurrence of epilepsy with preponderance towards the older age group is noticed due to sociodemographic and epidemiological transition. Neuroinfections, neurocysticercosis (NCC), and neurotrauma along with birth injuries have emerged as major risk factors for secondary epilepsy. Despite its varied etiology (unknown and known), majority of the epilepsy are manageable in nature. This paper emphasizes the need for focused and targeted programs based on a life-course perspective and calls for a stronger public health approach based on equity for prevention, control, and management of epilepsy in India.


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