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Epilepsy Res. 2007 Dec;77(2-3):141-50.

Prevalence of self-reported epilepsy in a multiracial and multiethnic community in New York City.

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  • 1G.H. Sergievsky Center, Columbia University, 622 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA.



To estimate the prevalence of epilepsy in a racially and ethnically diverse neighborhood in New York City.


We used random-digit dialing to identify people with a history of epilepsy. We estimated the prevalence of active epilepsy and lifetime epilepsy.


The age-adjusted prevalence of active epilepsy was 5.0 per 1000, and that of lifetime epilepsy was 5.9 per 1000. Prevalence appeared higher in Hispanics (active prevalence: 6.3 per 1000; lifetime prevalence: 7.5 per 1000) than in non-Hispanics (active prevalence: 4.1 per 1000; lifetime prevalence: 4.7 per 1000). Blacks appeared to have a lower prevalence of active epilepsy (5.2 per 1000) than whites (5.9 per 1000), but a higher lifetime prevalence (7.5 per 1000 vs. 5.9 per 1000). Ethnic and racial differences in access to epilepsy care were evident both in terms of drug treatment and use of emergency departments for care.


The prevalence of epilepsy in this predominantly minority urban community is similar to that reported in other contemporary studies. Less access to health care for black and Hispanic respondents, compared with white respondents, may have influenced self-reported active epilepsy prevalence estimates since the definition includes recent use of antiseizure medication.

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