Background/aims: We aimed to estimate the incidence and prevalence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in the South East of England. The reported incidence of ALS varies between 0.44 and 3.2 per 100,000 person years. This can partly be explained by differences in design and diagnostic criteria used. There is little population data concerning England, particularly the South East.
Methods: A population study of South-East England (total population: 2,890,482) was carried out and multiple sources including our tertiary centre and district general hospitals were used for complete case ascertainment.
Results: Between 1 January 2002 and 30 June 2006 we identified 138 people (76 males; 62 females) with a new diagnosis of ALS, giving a crude incidence of 1.06 per 100,000 person years. The projected age- and gender-adjusted annual incidence rate for England and Wales was 1.10 (95% CI 0.80-1.40). 142 people were alive on 30 June 2006, giving a point prevalence of 4.91 per 100,000 population.
Conclusion: Our incidence and prevalence rates are similar to those reported in comparable studies from other countries. This argues against the role of a specific exogenous factor in the aetiology of ALS in South-East England.
(c) 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.