The new estimate contraindicates with the estimate of 1 in every 2,000 children commonly used only two decades ago, This has bought about an argument as to whether the higher prevalence reflects a sharply increased rate of the disorder, better detection or over diagnosis by doctors.
Dr. Jose Cordero director of CDC's National Centre on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, of the federal Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC's) told the Los Angeles Times that Autism and its related developmental disorders are an urgent public health issue that affect the lives of many, many families, the cost of which is in the billions of dollars.
Dr. Cordero said that the survey does not address either the causes of autism or trends in incidence but simply explains it as a snapshot of the world at a given point of time, 2003 and 2004, said Cordero. The new study was reported on Thursday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Autism is a severe developmental disorder in which children seem isolated from the world around them. There is a large spectrum of symptoms, marked by poor language skills and an inability to handle social relations. As of now there is no cure, but many problems can be bettered by intensive behavioural therapy.