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Epilepsia. 2006 Mar;47(3):626-30.

Prevalence of childhood epilepsy and distribution of epileptic syndromes: a population-based survey in Okayama, Japan.

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Department of Child Neurology, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine and Dentistry, Okayama, Japan.



A population-based survey childhood epilepsy was undertaken in Okayama Prefecture, Japan, to determine the prevalence rate and the distribution of epilepsies and epileptic syndromes according to the International Classification (ILAE, 1989).


Information on patients younger than 13 years with active epilepsy was collected from medical records. Patients diagnosed with epilepsy according to clinical and EEG findings were put on the list even if those patients had had a single seizure or seizures occurring during febrile episodes.


In total, 2,220 cases were identified from a background population of 250,997. The prevalence rate was 8.8 per 1,000. If we exclude patients who had experienced a single seizure or seizures occurring during febrile episodes to compare our results with previous reports, the prevalence rate was 5.3 per 1,000. Of the 2,220 cases, 2,030 (91.4%) were classified into three major categories by ILAE classification. They consisted of 1,556 (76.7%) with localization-related epilepsy, 453 (22.3%) with generalized epilepsy, and 21 (1.0%) with undetermined epilepsy. Of the 2,030 cases, 309 (15.2%) were classified into epileptic syndrome categories, and 84.8% of the total were nonspecific types of epilepsy.


The prevalence rate of childhood epilepsy was distributed from 5.3 to 8.8 per 1,000. The appearance rate of various types of epileptic syndromes was low. Most cases could not be classified into the detailed categories of the International Classification (ILAE, 1989).

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