Background: Epilepsy is the most common serious neurological disorder and is one of the world’s most prevalent non-communicable diseases. There are no recently published data on the prevalence of epilepsy in school children in Northern Saudi Arabia. 

Objective: This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of epilepsy and to show some of its risk factors in school children and adolescents (6-18 years) in Turaif city, Northern Saudi Arabia.

Methods: This, population-based, cross-sectional study was conducted in Turaif city, over a 6-month period, from July 2016 to January 2017. It included pupils aged 6 to18 years in all primary, preparatory and secondary schools in Turaif city. Multi-stage sampling was employed. A designated structured questionnaire was completed for each patient and included the patient’s history, clinical examination, investigations and medications. Data were analyzed by SPSS version 16, using Chi-Squared test and descriptive statistics.

Results: Out of 1,230 children, 66 (5.5%) had epilepsy; 68.2% of them were males and 31.8% females (p=0.000). Consanguinity between parents plays a significant role where 59.1% of cases had parents who were cousins (p=0.000). Family history also had a significant effect as 68.2% of cases had epilepsy cases in their families (p=0.000).

Conclusion: Epilepsy prevalence among school children (6-18 years) in Turaif city is higher in males than females. Consanguinity and positive family history are important factors. Decision makers must take effective steps to limit the causes and risk factors of the problem.


Keywords: Prevalence, Epilepsy, Turaif, Northern border, Saudi Arabia
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