INTRODUCTION: The lifetime prevalence of epilepsy varies greatly from 1.5-14.0 per 1000 persons among the Asian countries. We aim to study the prevalence of epilepsy in Malaysia to have a better insight into the burden of disease in the country.
METHODS: A population-based door-to-door survey was carried out throughout the country, using questionnaire for brief screening in ascertainment of epilepsy, using a questionnaire and its validated multilingual versions. Respondents who were screened positive underwent second-stage diagnostic phone interview by neurologists/ research assistants.
RESULTS: A total 16, 686 respondents participated in the survey and 646 (3.8 %) respondents were screened positive during the first stage interview. A total of 185 consented for second stage diagnostic interview and 118 (63.8 %) respondents were contacted successfully for the second stage diagnostic phone interview, of which 17 (14.4 %) respondents were diagnosed to have epilepsy. An additional 68 (57.6 %) respondents had febrile seizures only. After applying a weighting factor to each respondent to adjust for non-response and for the varying probabilities of selection, the adjusted lifetime epilepsy prevalence was 7.8 in 1000 population, and the adjusted prevalence for active epilepsy was 4.2 in 1000 population in Malaysia.
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of lifetime epilepsy in Malaysia is 7.8 per 1000 persons.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.