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J Clin Neurosci. 2006 Apr;13(3):343-8. Epub 2006 Mar 15.

Prevalence of Parkinson's disease in metropolitan and rural Queensland: a general practice survey.

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  • 1Centre for Health Research (Public Health), Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


The prevalence of idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD) in Australia is unclear. We estimated the prevalence of IPD, and other forms of parkinsonism, through the study of typical caseloads in general practice. A random sample of general practitioners (GPs) throughout Queensland (401 responses from 528 validated practice addresses) was asked to estimate the numbers of patients with IPD and parkinsonism seen in the preceding year. The estimated prevalence of diagnosed IPD in Queensland was 146 per 100,000 (95% CI=136-155). A further 51 per 100,000 in the population were suspected by doctors to have IPD without formal diagnosis, whereas another 51 per 100,000 people may have non-idiopathic parkinsonism. Idiopathic Parkinson's disease was more common in rural than metropolitan areas. Although most GPs were confident in making diagnoses of IPD, the majority had little or no confidence in their ability to treat the disease, especially in its later stages. Support from neurologists was perceived by GPs to be very good in cities, but poor in remote areas.

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