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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064


RONDON, Juana; BETANCOURT, Xiomara  and  CONTERAS, Alba. Real prevalence of epilepsy in a mental health programme in Merida,Venezuela. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2008, vol.10, n.4, pp.643-649. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objectives Determining the accuracy of the mental health programme in diagnosing epilepsy and expert neurological evaluation in rural populations in the state of Mérida in Venezuela and ascertaining the most frequent types of epilepsy in the population being investigated. Methodology Neurologists from the IAHULA epilepsy clinic applied a questionnaire throughout May and December 2003 and evaluated the rural population previously diagnosed as suffering from epilepsy by the mental health programme. Results A diagnosis of epilepsy was confirmed in 198 of the 240 patients evaluated (82,3 % diagnostic accuracy). Epilepsy was most frequent in the 0-44 age-range, peaking between 15-24 years. Epileptic seizures were classified as being generalised (53,5 %) or focal seizures having secondary generalisation (30,8 %). Conclusions Very high levels of epilepsy were obtained (82.3% diagnostic accuracy compared to the mental health programme); however, these patients did not receive neurological care or benefit from complementary studies. These results revealed the need for neurological resources for the mental health programme for providing comprehensive care for epilepsy patients in Mérida.

Keywords : Epilepsy; prevalence; seizure; mental health.

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