Typically, this type of seizure lasts between 10 and 30 seconds. The person, most often a child aged 5 to 15, abruptly stops whatever he's doing (talking, walking) and appears to "stare into space." Absence seizures rarely cause a true convulsion in which the person falls down or collapses. Despite briefly losing consciousness, the person recovers fully with no lingering confusion or other ill effects.
The incidence of epilepsy is a measure of the number of new persons with epilepsy per 100,000 population per year. Incidence cohorts provide more valuable information than prevalence cohorts, since they include mild and severe persons with epilepsy; persons with epilepsy are identified at an earlier time in the course of their illness and hence more likely to provide reliable information regarding potential antecedents.