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Neuroepidemiology. 2004 May-Jun;23(3):144-9.

Review of epidemiological studies searching for a relationship between onchocerciasis and epilepsy.

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Institute of Neuroepidemiology and Tropical Neurology EA 3174, Limoges, France.


A review and a meta-analysis of the available epidemiological literature for evidence of an association between onchocerciasis infection and epilepsy were carried out. We used EMBASE (1974-2002), MEDLINE (1966-2002), and PASCAL (1987-2002) databases and relevant journals and bibliographies. We limited our analysis to the epidemiological studies, where the status regarding onchocerciasis infection and epilepsy was available for each subject. Nine African studies were included. The common relative risk estimated by the random-effects model was 1.21 (95% CI 0.99-1.47; p = 0.06). The meta-analysis did not show any difference according to the onchocerciasis endemicity level and the African areas. Our results do not allow to conclude for an association between Onchocerca volvulus infection and epilepsy. However, the results are nearly significant. Further research is needed in this neglected subject, in particular for the better understanding of the neurological pathogenicity in onchocerciasis.

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