In June 2021, a two-phase survey of epilepsy was conducted in selected villages in Mundri West and East Counties, an onchocerciasis-endemic area in Western Equatoria State in South Sudan.
In the first phase, households were visited by a trained research team to identify persons suspected to have epilepsy. In the second phase, persons suspected to have epilepsy were interviewed and examined by a clinician to confirm the diagnosis. The overall prevalence of confirmed epilepsy was found to be high, with 16.8% of participating households having at least one person with epilepsy.
Despite high rates, less than half of people participating in the study took ivermectin (a control strategy for onchocerciasis which causes epilepsy) during the last distribution round in 2021. Urgent action is needed to prevent children from developing onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy by strengthening the local onchocerciasis-elimination programme.
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