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Open Access Research article

Prevalence of essential tremor in urban Lagos, Nigeria: a door-to-door community-based study

Njideka U Okubadejo1*, Idowu A Bankole2, Oluwadamilola O Ojo1, Frank I Ojini1 and Mustapha A Danesi1

Author Affiliations

1 Neurology Unit, College of Medicine, University of Lagos and Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba, Lagos State, Nigeria

2 Department of Medicine, Irrua Specialist Hospital, Irrua, Edo State, Nigeria

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BMC Neurology 2012, 12:110  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-110

Published: 27 September 2012



Essential tremor (ET) is one of the commonest movement disorders though the prevalence varies globally. There is paucity of data on ET prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa. The study aimed to determine the prevalence of ET in a Nigerian community.


This door-to-door survey was conducted in two stages. In Stage 1, 3000 randomly selected residents of an urban centre in Lagos, Nigeria, were screened using a questionnaire to detect symptoms of movement disorder. 234 participants who responded positively regarding presence of tremors were rescreened using an ET-specific questionnaire, a face-to-face interview and neurological examination. Diagnosis of ET was based on the Movement Disorders Society (MDS) consensus diagnostic criteria for ET.


Of the 3000 participants, forty responded positively to the ET screening questionnaire, of which 36 (19 females and 17 males) had a final diagnosis of ET, giving a crude prevalence of 12 per 1000 (95% CI = 8.1- 15.9). Gender specific prevalence was 10.3 /1000 in males and 14.3/1000 in females. Age specific prevalence increased with advancing age in both sexes. Age adjusted prevalence (WHO New world population) was 23.8 per 1000.


We documented a high prevalence of ET in this study, with typical increasing prevalence with advancing age as previously reported in other populations.

Essential tremor; Prevalence; Nigeria; Subsaharan Africa