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Article

High Prevalence of Epilepsy in an Onchocerciasis-Endemic Area in Mvolo County, South Sudan: A Door-To-Door Survey

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Amref Health Africa, Juba P.O. Box 410, South Sudan
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Global Health Institute, University of Antwerp, Kinsbergen Centrum, Doornstraat 331, 2610 Antwerp, Belgium
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Global Child Health Group, Department of Paediatrics and Department of Global Health Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, 1105 BP Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, 1105 BP Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Amref Health Africa Headquarters, Nairobi P.O. Box 30125, Kenya
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Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK
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Neglected Tropical Diseases Unit, Ministry of Health, Juba P.O. Box 410, South Sudan
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marcello Otake Sato
Pathogens 2021, 10(5), 599; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10050599
Received: 2 April 2021 / Revised: 1 May 2021 / Accepted: 11 May 2021 / Published: 14 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Onchocerciasis and River Epilepsy)
In June 2020, a door-to-door household survey was conducted in Mvolo County, an onchocerciasis-endemic area in South Sudan. A total of 2357 households containing 15,699 individuals agreed to participate in the study. Of these, 5046 (32.1%, 95% CI: 31.4–32.9%) had skin itching and 445 (2.8%, 95% CI: 2.6–3.1%) were blind. An epilepsy screening questionnaire identified 813 (5.1%) persons suspected of having epilepsy. Of them, 804 (98.9%) were seen by a medical doctor, and in 798 (98.1%) the diagnosis of epilepsy was confirmed. The overall epilepsy prevalence was 50.8/1000 (95% CI: 47.6–54.4/1000), while the prevalence of nodding syndrome was 22.4/1000 (95% CI: 20.1–24.9/1000). Younger age, being male, skin itching, blindness, and living in a neighbourhood or village close to the Naam River were risk factors for epilepsy. The annual incidence of epilepsy was 82.8/100,000 (95% CI: 44.1–141.6/100,000). Among children 7–9 years old without epilepsy, 34% were Ov16 seropositive, suggesting high ongoing Onchocerca volvulus transmission, but only 41.9% of them took ivermectin during the last mass distribution. In conclusion, a high prevalence and incidence of epilepsy was observed in Mvolo, South Sudan. Strengthening of the onchocerciasis elimination programme is urgently needed in order to prevent epilepsy in this region. View Full-Text
Keywords: onchocerciasis; Onchocerca volvulus; epilepsy; nodding syndrome; prevalence; ivermectin onchocerciasis; Onchocerca volvulus; epilepsy; nodding syndrome; prevalence; ivermectin
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MDPI and ACS Style

Raimon, S.; Dusabimana, A.; Abd-Elfarag, G.; Okaro, S.; Carter, J.Y.; Newton, C.R.; Logora, M.Y.; Colebunders, R. High Prevalence of Epilepsy in an Onchocerciasis-Endemic Area in Mvolo County, South Sudan: A Door-To-Door Survey. Pathogens 2021, 10, 599. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10050599

AMA Style

Raimon S, Dusabimana A, Abd-Elfarag G, Okaro S, Carter JY, Newton CR, Logora MY, Colebunders R. High Prevalence of Epilepsy in an Onchocerciasis-Endemic Area in Mvolo County, South Sudan: A Door-To-Door Survey. Pathogens. 2021; 10(5):599. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10050599

Chicago/Turabian Style

Raimon, Stephen, Alfred Dusabimana, Gasim Abd-Elfarag, Samuel Okaro, Jane Y. Carter, Charles R. Newton, Makoy Y. Logora, and Robert Colebunders. 2021. "High Prevalence of Epilepsy in an Onchocerciasis-Endemic Area in Mvolo County, South Sudan: A Door-To-Door Survey" Pathogens 10, no. 5: 599. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10050599

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