A recent article by the Center for Disease Control (CDC)* on the prevalence of epilepsy noted that in 2015 approximately 3 million U.S. adults and 470,000 children had active epilepsy.
This 3.47 million represents 1.2% of the population and is up from 2.3 million adults in 2010 and 450,000 children in 2007. The higher numbers likely reflect population growth and an increased willingness of people to admit they have epilepsy. The actual incidence of the disease is likely even higher though, since adults who are institutionalized weren’t counted and about 39% of adults who experienced seizures in the past year had not seen a neurologist.
Sadly, the number of U.S. cases represents only about 7% of the people currently living with epilepsy around the world, which the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates to be approximately 50 million. Other leading organizations, such as the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) and the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) estimate that number to be even higher, perhaps as high as 65 million.
“Globally, an estimated 2.4 million people are diagnosed with epilepsy each year,” the WHO reports. “In high-income countries, annual new cases are between 30 and 50 per 100,000 people in the general population. In low-and middle-income countries, this figure can be up to two times higher.”**
In low- and middle-income countries, access to proper diagnosis and treatment can be very limited. And in some countries the treatment gap for persons living with epilepsy can be as high as 95%, meaning that only 5 of every 100 persons with epilepsy is properly diagnosed and treated for the disorder.
The ROW Foundation is working to change that. Our social enterprise partner, OWP Pharmaceuticals, assists epilepsy patients in the U.S. with high-quality, low-cost anti-epileptic drugs (AED). Profits from OWP sales help fund the ROW Foundation and enable us to improve the quality of training for health care providers, and diagnosis and treatment options for persons living with epilepsy and associated psychiatric disorders, in under-resourced areas of the world.
You can learn more about our past, present and future projects at www.rowpharma.org. Together we can bring hope and wellness to countless people around the world.