The prevalence of epilepsy and seizure types among 10-year-old children in metropolitan Atlanta were ascertained from EEG laboratories and other sources and reported from the Centers for Public Health Research, Battelle; Division of Birth Defects, Center for Disease Control and Prevention; and Children’s Epilepsy Center, Scottish Rite Children’s Medical Center, Atlanta, GA. For the 538 patients identified, the lifetime prevalence of childhood epilepsy was 6 per 1000 10-year-old children. Boys outnumbered girls, especially among black children. Partial and secondarily generalized seizures accounted for 58% and generalized seizures for 35%. Coexisting developmental disabilities affected 35%. Mental retardation occurred in 30% of whom two thirds were severely retarded, cerebral palsy in 18%, visual impairment in 5%, and hearing impairment in 2%. Forty percent had a first seizure before 2 years of age and 55% before 4 years. [1]

COMMENT. A higher rate for epilepsy of 9.8 per 1000 children <15 years found by Hauser WA, (1994) in Rochester, MN was thought to reflect a more complete case ascertainment in a well-defined stable population. Children with milder forms of epilepsy and those no longer under medical care may have been missed in the Atlanta study. Prevalence rates for active epilepsy may be lower than rates for lifetime prevalence.