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In many countries, stroke is a lower priority than other diseases despite its public health impact. One issue is a lack of readily accessible comparative data to help make the case for the development of national stroke strategies. To assist in this process, we need to have a common repository of the latest published information on the impact of stroke worldwide. We aim to provide a repository of the most current incidence and mortality data on stroke available by country and illustrate the gaps in these data. We plan to update this repository annually and expand the scope to address other aspects of the burden of stroke. Data were compiled using two approaches: (1) an extensive literature review with a major focus on published systematic reviews on stroke incidence (between 1980 and May 14, 2013); and (2) direct acquisition and collation of data from the World Health Organization to present the most current estimates of stroke mortality for each country recognized by the World Health Organization. For mortality, ICD8, ICD9, and ICD10 mortality codes were extracted. Using population denominators crude stroke mortality was calculated, as well as adjusting for the World Health Organization world population. We used only the most recent year reported to the World Health Organization. Incidence rates for stroke were available for 52 countries, with some countries having incidence studies undertaken in more than one region. When adjusted to the World Health Organization world standard population, incidence rates for stroke ranged from 41 per 100 000 population per year in Nigeria (1971-74) to 316/ 100 000/year in urban Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania). Some regions had three to fivefold greater incidence than other countries. Of the 123 countries reporting mortality data, crude mortality was greatest in Kazhakstan (in 2003). In many regions data were very old or nonexistent. Such country-level data are important for citizens, clinicians, and policy makers so that local and global strategies to reduce the overall burden of stroke can be implemented. Through this first annual review of country-specific stroke epidemiology, we hope to promote discussion and provide insights into the worldwide burden of stroke.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Stroke

Publication Date





6 - 18


country-specific, epidemiology, global, incidence, mortality, stroke, Global Health, Humans, Incidence, Public Health, Stroke, World Health Organization