Roughly 1 in every 91 American 8-year-olds has been diagnosed with autism, a rate significantly worse than the 1 in 150 estimated in 2007, finds a new CDC survey that will be released later this year. The study showed that autism is “an urgent public health concern,” CDC officials said, but they cautioned that the higher rate didn’t necessarily mean the disorder is growing more common.
It’s possible that it’s the ability to detect the disease has simply improved. “This has the tremendous potential to scare people,” one epidemiologist tells the Chicago Tribune. “It is very unlikely that there has been an explosive increase in the way that has been portrayed in the media.”