Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal degenerative neurological disease with significant effects on quality of life. International studies continue to provide consistent incidence values, though complete case ascertainment remains a challenge. The Canadian population has been understudied, and there are currently no quantitative data on the incidence of ALS in British Columbia (BC). The objectives of this study were to determine the five-year incidence rates of ALS in BC and to characterize the demographic patterns of the disease.
The capture–recapture method was employed to estimate ALS incidence over a five-year period (2010-2015). Two sources were used to identify ALS cases: one database from an ALS medical centre and another from a not-for-profit ALS organization.
During this time period, there were 690 incident cases within the two sources. The capture–recapture method estimated 57 unobserved cases, corresponding to a crude five-year incidence rate of 3.29 cases per 100,000 (CI
95%=3.05-3.53). The mean age of diagnosis was 64.6 (CI
95%=59.7-69.4), with 63.5 (CI
95%=56.9-70.1) for men and 65.7 (CI
95%=58.6-72.7) for women. There was a slight male preponderance in incidence, with a 1.05:1 ratio to females. Peak numbers in incidence occurred between the ages of 70 and 79.
The incidence of ALS in BC was found to be consistent with international findings though nominally higher than that in other Canadian provinces to date.