Epilepsy Incidence Rates on the Rise in US Adults

HealthDay News — In 2015, an estimated 1.2% of the US population reported active or current epilepsy, according to research published in the US 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 US 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 5900 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.

“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 wrote.

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Zack MM, Kobau R. National and state estimates of the numbers of adults and children with active epilepsy — United States, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017;66(31):821-825.