In a study from the onchocerciasis-endemic area of Mahenge in southern Tanzania, Mmbando et al. [Inf Dis Poverty. 2018;7:64] demonstrate that in four selected villages the overall epilepsy prevalence was high, and significantly more elevated in the two villages of higher onchocerciasis endemicity compared to those of lower endemicity. This is replicating earlier findings from many other areas of tropical Africa. The authors are also providing data indicating that in the Mahenge focus, the prevalence of nodding syndrome may be related to that of onchocerciasis in the same way as epilepsy in general. The application of a clinical case definition for onchocerciasis-Associated epilepsy (OAE) as used in the study of Mmbando et al. [Inf Dis Poverty. 2018;7:64] faces some difficulties; indeed, its precision in discerning cases of OAE from epilepsy due to other etiologies is not known, and it does not allow for a specific diagnosis in the individual patient. Because an operational surveillance tool for assessing the number of patients in the population could mean substantial advance for better estimating the burden of OAE, the proposed definition should be tried in different settings and its performance reviewed in the process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases