CDC: Epilepsy Rates Increasing Among Adults, Children

AUGUST 23, 2017
Jennifer Barrett, Assistant Editor
For the first time, epilepsy rate estimates have been available for every state, totaling in at least 3.4 million individuals living with the disorder. The data were reported in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC data provide national and state-specific estimates of epilepsy prevalence based on the 2015 National Health Survey, and the National Survey of Children’s Health, and the 2014 Current Population Survey. Data indicate that epilepsy rates in adults are increasing, rising from 2.3 million to 3 million in 2015. The number of children with epilepsy increased from 450,000 in 2007 to 470,000 in 2015.

Overall, the researchers reported that 1.2% (3.4 million) of the US population had active epilepsy in 2015. The number of active reports among adults varied between states, from 5100 in Wyoming to 367,900 in California, and from 800 children in Wyoming to 59,800 in California. Overall, 11 states had more than an estimated 92,000 individuals with epilepsy.

The researchers noted that the increase in those with the disorder is likely linked to population growth. Individuals with epilepsy often have multiple co-occuring conditions that may complicate their epilepsy management, impair life goals, and contribute to early mortality.

Health care providers can use the findings of this report to ensure that evidence-based programs meet the complex needs of adults and children living with epilepsy and reduce the disparities resulting from it, the researchers concluded.

Reference
Zack MM, Kobau R. National and state estimates of the numbers of adults and children with active epilepsy – United States, 2015. MMWR. 2017. 66(31);821-825. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6631a1.htm?s_cid=mm6631a1_w.

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