OPEN Seizure : the journal of the British Epilepsy Association | 9 Jan 2013
A Alaqeel and AJ Sabbagh
PURPOSE: Epilepsy is very common in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with a prevalence of 6.54 per 1000. The present study was conducted to investigate the level of public awareness, and the attitudes and knowledge regarding epilepsy in the Saudi population in Riyadh - capital city of Saudi Arabia. METHODS: A survey consisting of 19 questions pertaining to epilepsy awareness was distributed to Saudi citizens living in Riyadh older than 15 years of age in malls, supermarkets, health clubs, mosques, universities and schools. RESULTS: Of the 7078 respondents who completed the questionnaire, 6756 (95.5%) had heard about epilepsy, 3024 (42.7%) had witnessed what they believed to be a seizure and 5164 (73%) would allow their children to interact with an individual who had epilepsy. However, 5382 (76%) respondents would not want their children to marry an individual with epilepsy, 1004 (14.2%) believed that epilepsy was infectious and 574 (8.1%) believed that epilepsy was a type of mental illness. A total of 1509 (21.3%) respondents were not aware of a single potential cause of epilepsy, 3493 (50.6%) would not seek medical advice if one of their relatives had epilepsy, 2221 (31.4%) did not know how to deal with an individual experiencing an epileptic episode and 6554 (92.6%) did not know that surgery was a treatment option for individuals with epilepsy in Saudi Arabia. Of the 7078 respondents, 3237 (45.7%) would not abide by a physician’s advice not to operate a motor vehicle because of their illness, of whom 1631 (50.4%) cited problems with the public transportation system as a reason for disregarding the doctor’s advice. The effect of age and level of education were statistically significant on most of the study variables. CONCLUSION: The level of epilepsy awareness in the Saudi population needs improvement.
* Data courtesy of Altmetric.com