DATE: 26 March 2015



Epilepsy is a group of neurological disorders characterised by seizures that can be brief and almost undetectable to long periods of vigorous shaking.

Key facts

  • Approximately 65 million (one percent) of people worldwide have epilepsy.
  • Nearly 80 percent of people with epilepsy live in developing countries. 
  • Over 100 000 Australians have epilepsy. 
  • Epilepsy cannot usually be cured, but medication can control seizures effectively in about 70% of cases.

Technical notes

Estimated number of persons with epilepsy in Australia  (disaggregated by gender and employment status) are derived from the ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2012.

Estimate of cases controllable with medication: Eadie, MJ (December 2012). "Shortcomings in the current treatment of epilepsy.". Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 12 (12): 1419–27. 

Global prevalence estimates: Thurman, DJ; Beghi, E; Begley, CE; Berg, AT; Buchhalter, JR; Ding, D; Hesdorffer, DC; Hauser, WA; Kazis, L; Kobau, R; Kroner, B; Labiner, D; Liow, K; Logroscino, G; Medina, MT; Newton, CR; Parko, K; Paschal, A; Preux, PM; Sander, JW; Selassie, A; Theodore, W; Tomson, T; Wiebe, S; ILAE Commission on, Epidemiology (September 2011). "Standards for epidemiologic studies and surveillance of epilepsy.". Epilepsia. 52 Suppl 7: 2–26. 

"Epilepsy". Fact Sheets. World Health Organization. October 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2013.


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