The prevalence of Parkinson's disease in rural Tanzania

Document Type



Imaging and Diagnostic Radiology (East Africa)



The prevalence of Parkinson’s disease (PD) variesworldwide from 7 to 450 per 100,000, and appears low insub-Saharan Africa (SSA) but few data exist. We conducted aprevalence study of PD in rural Tanzania. A door-to-door studywas conducted in the Hai district project area (population161,071), using a screening questionnaire followed by struc-tured history and examination of positive responders. Diagnosiswas based on the UK PD Society Brain Bank Criteria. 33 (23men) cases of PD were detected, with mean age 74 years (range38–94). One patient died before the prevalence date. 78% werepreviously undiagnosed and untreated. Mean duration of symp-toms was 5 years, and median Hoehn and Yahr stage 3. Crudeprevalence rates were 30/100,000 (men), 11/100,000 (women)and 20/100,000 (combined). The direct age-standardized prev-alence rates compared with the UK population were 64/100,000(men), 20/100,000 (women) and 40/100,000 (combined). Theserates are higher than previously reported from SSA, but stilllower than the developed world. Many PD patients in SSA maynever be diagnosed or treated, with consequent reduction intheir life expectancy and quality of life. With the world popu-lation ageing PD is predicted to become an increasing problem.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication ( Name of Journal)

Movement Disorder