Epidemiological Survey of Epilepsy in the Primary School Population in Buenos AiresSomoza M.J. · Forlenza R.H. · Brussino M. · Licciardi L.
Board of Health, Buenos Aires City Authority, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Background: Most studies carried out in Latin America have shown greater rates of epilepsy and generalized seizures than those observed in developed countries, in spite of lower numbers of patients receiving treatment. To date, studies in Argentina have been insufficient to establish true prevalence. Objective: To determine the prevalence of epilepsy in primary school children in Buenos Aires, together with rates of different seizure types, treatments prescribed, diagnoses made and number of inadequate therapies administered, as well as the relationship between epilepsy and learning difficulties. Design and Method: A cross-sectional study was carried out on 10% of the entire primary school population of Buenos Aires through randomized, systematic, representative and conglomerate sampling of public and private school students. A total of 26,270 responses were received (83.1% of the population) to a specially designed questionnaire, with 96.4% sensitivity and 41.5% specificity, respectively. Interviews were conducted in all probable epilepsy cases as well as in a random sample of probable negative ones. Results: Eighty-four children with epilepsy were detected (lifetime prevalence 3.2‰; active prevalence 2.6‰), in whom generalized seizures predominated (57.1%). Ninety-three percent of cases diagnosed were currently under, or had previously received antiepileptic drug (AED) therapy. Almost 1% of the primary school population studied had a prior diagnosis and/or received AED for dysrhythmia or epilepsy. The percentage of grade repeaters in the general population and in children with epilepsy was 8.4 and 26.2%, respectively. Conclusions: (1) The prevalence of epilepsy in primary school children in Buenos Aires is similar to that reported for developed countries; (2) a slight prevalence for generalized seizures was observed; (3) 93% of cases received AEDs; (4) misdiagnoses and unnecessary treatments exceeded correct diagnoses and adequate therapy, and (5) disease presence and/or treatment were associated with poorer school performance.
Dr. Manuel J. Somoza
Av. del Libertador 2254 6D
(C1425AAI) Ciudad de Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Tel./Fax +54 11 4802 9098
Published online: June 8, 2005
Number of Print Pages : 7
Number of Figures : 1, Number of Tables : 3, Number of References : 31
Vol. 25, No. 2, Year 2005 (Cover Date: Released July 2005)
Journal Editor: Román, G.C. (San Antonio, Tex.)
ISSN: 0251–5350 (print), 1423–0208 (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/ned