Background: In the near future, a majority of strokes are projected to occur in developing countries. However, population-level information on the prevalence of stroke from rural areas of developing countries, including India, is rare. We estimated the prevalence of stroke in a rural area of one of the most underdeveloped districts of India. Methods: Trained surveyors conducted a house-to-house survey using a validated screening questionnaire in a well-defined population of 45,053 living in 39 villages in a demographic surveillance site in Gadchiroli district. A trained physician and a neurologist evaluated screen-positive patients and diagnosed stroke using the World Health Organization's criteria. Results: In the screened population, 175 patients had stroke. The mean age of patients with stroke was 60.9 ± 14.7 years and 32.5% were women. The crude prevalence rate of stroke was 388.43 (95% CI 335.04-450.33) and the age-standardized prevalence rate of stroke was 535.58 (95% CI 492.41-583.01) per 100,000 population. The crude prevalence rate of stroke was significantly higher among men than among women (520 vs. 255/100,000 population, p < 0.05). Conclusion: In this prevalence study, conducted after a gap of 20 years in rural India, the prevalence of stroke was high and was more than twice the prevalence reported from the previous study. The prevalence was double among men compared to women. Stroke is emerging as a public health priority in rural India.

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