Post-encephalitic epilepsy and arbovirus infections in an isolated rainforest area of central Liberia

Trop Geogr Med. 1986 Sep;38(3):203-8.


Among a population of 4.436 Bassa, Kpelle and Mano people in the Gbawein and Wroughbarh Clan region of Grand Bassa Country, Liberia, 123 cases of epilepsy could be documented. In 38% of these cases infections involving the central nervous system precipitated the onset of seizures. Sera from 67 epilepsy patients, 50 direct healthy relatives and 22 geographically matched controls were tested for antibodies to 16 arboviruses of the Togaviridae and Bunyaviridae known to occur in Africa. Antibodies to arboviruses were found in 16.5% of the epilepsy patients, 36% of the mostly older family members, and in 22% of the controls. Males and females were equally affected as were the different clans and language groups. Although meningoencephalitis with sequelae, like seizures, are known to result from arbovirus infections, no evidence for a correlation between epilepsy in this are of Central Liberia and previous arbovirus infection could be established.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alphavirus / immunology
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis*
  • Arbovirus Infections / complications
  • Arbovirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Arboviruses / immunology*
  • Bunyaviridae / immunology
  • Bunyaviridae Infections / complications
  • Bunyaviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology*
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Female
  • Flavivirus / immunology
  • Humans
  • Liberia
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Togaviridae Infections / complications
  • Togaviridae Infections / epidemiology


  • Antibodies, Viral