Analysis of the epidemiological characteristics and risk factors for epilepsy in the countries of the African continent

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Relevance . Epilepsy is a common neurological disease in tropical countries, especially in Africa. Its prevalence in African countries is almost twice as high as in Asia, Europe and North America. Objective: to investigate the characteristics of the spread and risk factors of epilepsy in the countries of the African continent. Materials and Methods : Based on WHO data, an epidemiological analysis of the prevalence and structure of mortality from epilepsy among the inhabitants of continental Africa was carried out. The African continent was clustered into five different regions with conventionally homogeneous sociocultural, climatic and geographic and environmental conditions and, as a consequence, similar dynamics of endemic diseases and infections. Demographic data, etiological factors, risk factors such as infectious diseases (including neglected diseases) with neurological consequences in the form of deaths from epilepsy were compared in five centers in the region. Mathematical and statistical processing of the results was carried out using the SPSS-19 statistical package (SPSS Inc., USA). Results and Discussion . Analysis of socio-demographic characteristics made it possible to establish that mortality from epilepsy is higher: in the countries of the African continent south of the Sahara in comparison with northern Africa; in women compared to men; in the age group younger than 14 compared to older groups and also in countries of subregions with an unsatisfactory state of national health systems and a low level of socio-economic situation in general. Conclusion . State programs aimed at reducing various factors of injury, violence, the prevalence of maternal mortality and hunger, the frequency of suicide among the population can help reduce the prevalence and mortality from epilepsy. In addition, a significant number of risk factors for epilepsy in African countries are virulent and potentially preventable. First of all, these include: neurocysticercosis, schistosomiasis, HIV infection and various forms of meningitis. Health care interventions to prevent these diseases can also significantly reduce the prevalence of epilepsy.

About the authors

V. V. Efremov

Rostov State Medical University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9134-3049
Rostov-on-Don, Russian Federation

Yu. A. Dolgusheva

Rostov State Medical University

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5351-2419
Rostov-on-Don, Russian Federation

B. Ndihokubvayo

Rostov State Medical University

ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2588-4570
Rostov-on-Don, Russian Federation


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Copyright (c) 2021 Efremov V.V., Dolgusheva Y.A., Ndihokubvayo B.

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