Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most frequent muscle disorder in childhood. There are no data on the epidemiology of muscular dystrophy in Estonia and the other Baltic States. The present study assessed the incidence and prevalence of DMD in Estonia. A descriptive epidemiological study of DMD was carried out in children born and diagnosed between 1977 and 1999 in Estonia. Patients were identified using four different approaches. DMD was considered present in children with features that corresponded to the criteria established by the European Neuromuscular Centre. 20 incidence cases and 25 prevalence cases of definite DMD were identified. We found a DMD incidence rate of 11.91 x 10(-5) (95% CI; 7.28-18.4) live born males from 1977 to 1990. The point prevalence rate of DMD was 12.76 x 10(-5) (95% CI; 8.26-18.84) of the under-20 male population as of January 1, 1998. The incidence and prevalence estimates in this report were in the range of similar studies from other countries. A muscle biopsy database and a neuromuscular disorders database were launched with this study. Considering the course of the disease, the prevalence should be estimated on the basis of the total male population <20 years of age.