Background: Usher syndrome (USH) typically leads to deaf-blindness, requiring the provision of extensive education and rehabilitation services. Therefore, investigating the prevalence is crucial to requests for proper government support for USH patients. Objective: The aim was to perform a nationwide epidemiologic survey of USH in Japan to estimate the prevalence of USH and reveal the relative frequency and characteristics of the three USH subtypes. Methods: To estimate the number of USH patients visiting hospitals over a 1-year period, 1,628 hospitals were randomly selected from all Departments of Otorhinolaryngology and Ophthalmology in Japan. Subsequently, we collected data regarding the clinical characteristics of each patient treated and the results of genetic testing, if performed. Results: We found that the prevalence of USH was at least 0.4 per 100,000 population. The frequency of clinical subtypes and causal genes for USH were consistent with previous reports. Also, we demonstrated the feasibility of genetic counseling for USH patients based on the results of genetic testing. Conclusion: USH is a rare disease, but requires social support due to the severity of symptoms. To minimize these issues, understanding the clinical characteristics and performing comprehensive genetic testing could allow early and accurate diagnosis as well as medical intervention.
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