New CDC Report Highlights Prevalence of Epilepsy
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report revealing that the number of adults and children living with epilepsy is at an all-time high. The report shows epilepsy is widespread. At least 3.4 million people in the United States live with seizures, including 470,000 children. It also for the first time has individual state-by-state prevalence results.

Here are some key statistics from the report:

  • 1.2% of Americans (3.4 million persons: 3 million adults and 470,000 children) have active or current epilepsy.
  • 108,900 people in Michigan (95,300 adults and 13,600 children) have active or current epilepsy.
  • Among five chronic conditions in children and adolescents selected because of their adverse impact on academic and health outcomes, epilepsy is the costliest and the second most common.
  • Children with seizures are more likely to live in poverty, and their parents more frequently report food insecurity.
  • Direct yearly health care costs per person with epilepsy ranged from $10,192 to $47,862 (2013 U.S. dollars) and were higher for persons with uncontrolled seizures.
  • Medicaid recipients have a higher prevalence of epilepsy, especially among adults aged 20–64 years (3.4%).

This report confirms what many in our community have suspected: Epilepsy has been under-reported. We are very grateful that we have a public health program at the CDC for epilepsy. Their new data strengthens our resolve. We fight every day to improve the lives of millions of people who have epilepsy. Seizures diminish and steal lives. We won’t rest until this ends.