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Neuroepidemiology. 2006;26(4):199-206. Epub 2006 Mar 28.

Prevalence of epilepsy in a rural district of central Lao PDR.

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  • 1Institut de la Francophonie pour la M├ędecine Tropicale, Vientiane, Lao PDR.



To assess the prevalence of epilepsy in a rural district of Lao PDR and to describe the clinical and epidemiological profile of the disease.


Door-to-door screening was performed on the entire population of 8 randomly selected villages in the Hinheub district, using an internationally validated and standardized questionnaire. Additional passive case detection was performed through village key informants. Suspected epilepsy patients identified by the questionnaire were revisited and examined by an experienced neurologist on two follow-up visits. The confirmation of epilepsy was based only on an in-depth clinical examination. Electroencephalograms were performed at the district health care center.


In the 8 villages, 277 suspected cases of epilepsy were identified among 4,310 interviewed subjects; 194 of whom (70%) underwent a clinical examination by a neurologist during the first visit while 65 of 83 remaining suspected cases were seen on the second confirmation visit. Twenty-seven persons with epilepsy were identified. Six additional patients were diagnosed in 219 self-referred subjects. An overall prevalence of 7.7 cases of epilepsy per thousand inhabitants was calculated (95% CI 5.3-10.7). Generalized epilepsy (21 cases, 63.6%) was commoner than partial epilepsy (9 cases, 27.3%). The remaining 3 cases (9.1%) were not-classifiable as either generalized or partial. EEG abnormal findings were found in 12 of the 24 patients (50.0%) who had an EEG registration.


This is the first study in Lao PDR to estimate the prevalence of epilepsy. Compared to Western countries it shows a pattern towards a higher prevalence.

Copyright 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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