Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Prevalence of Onchocerciasis-Associated Epilepsy in Mvolo County, South Sudan: A Door to Door Survey

Version 1 : Received: 2 April 2021 / Approved: 5 April 2021 / Online: 5 April 2021 (12:53:07 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

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. 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.

Journal reference: Pathogens 2021, 10, 599
DOI: 10.3390/pathogens10050599

Abstract

In June 2020, a door-to-door household survey was conducted in Mvolo County, an onchocerciasis endemic area in South Sudan. A total of 2,357 households containing 15,699 individuals agreed to participate in the study. Of these, 5,046 (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 to have 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) and 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 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). In conclusion, a high prevalence and incidence of epilepsy was observed in Mvolo, South Sudan. Strengthening the onchocerciasis elimination programme is urgently needed to prevent epilepsy in this region.

Keywords

Onchocerciasis; Onchocerca volvulus; epilepsy; nodding syndrome; prevalence; ivermectin

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