How Prevalent Is Epilepsy in the United States?

Variation in estimated number of people with active epilepsy, from 5,900 in Wyoming to 427,700 in Calif.
Variation in estimated number of people with active epilepsy, from 5,900 in Wyoming to 427,700 in Calif.

HealthDay News — In 2015, an estimated 1.2% of the U.S. population reported active or current epilepsy, according to research published in the August 11 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Matthew M. Zack, MD, and Rosemarie Kobau, MPH, from the CDC in Atlanta, used national data sources for adults to estimate prevalent cases of active epilepsy overall and by state.

The researchers found that 1.2% of the U.S. population reported active epilepsy or current epilepsy in 2015. After accounting for income and age differences by state, the estimated numbers of persons with active epilepsy ranged from 5,900 in Wyoming to 427,700 in California. Increases in the number of persons with active epilepsy were indicated based on National Health Interview Survey data from 2010 to 2015, probably due to population growth. 

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"Public health practitioners, health care providers, policy makers, epilepsy researchers, and other epilepsy stakeholders, including family members and people with epilepsy, can use these findings to ensure that evidence-based programs meet the complex needs of adults and children with epilepsy and reduce the disparities resulting from it," the authors write.

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