This study is a field study with cross-section and case control conducted in the Kucukcekmece Region of Istanbul between June 1999 and February 2000. Four hundred and ninety three dwellings selected by a simple random sampling method were visited. From a population of 2187, 58 people, after filling in a questionnaire were suspected to have epilepsy. Following an interview, neurological examination and an electroencephalogram (EEG) 17 were diagnosed as having epilepsy. Lifetime epilepsy prevalence was 0.8%. 41.2% of the 17 epilepsy cases had partial epilepsy (n = 7), 47.0% had generalized (n = 8) and in 11.8% seizures could not be classified (n = 2). The risk factors for epilepsy in the control group (n = 125) from the same region and those with epilepsy were investigated by means of logistic regression analyses. Educational status (odds ratio : 1.82, 95% confidence interval : 1.13-2.94; P = 0.01), profession (OR : 0.76, 95% CI: 0.60-0.97; P = 0.03), history of epilepsy in the family (OR: 0.67, 95% C1 : 0.47-0.94; P = 0.02) were determined to be correlated with epilepsy. The results have drawn attention to the fact that individuals should be informed about epilepsy. (C) 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd on behalf of BEA Trading Ltd.