Briefly noted: Autism Spectrum Prevalence

A recent study (G Xu et al. JAMA Pediatr 2019; 173: 153-9) uses a nationwide, population-based, cross-sectional survey to provided updated estimates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) prevalence. The authors include more than 43,000 children (3-17 yrs).

Key findings:

  • The weighted prevalence of ever-diagnosed and current ASD was 2.79% and 2.50% respectively
  • State-level prevalence varied considerably with ever-diagnosed ASD of 1.54% in Texas to 4.88% in Florida.
  • 29.5% of those with current ASD did not receive either behavioral or medication treatment.

My take: This study documents the high rates of ASD in the pediatric population and shows that many are not receiving potentially beneficial treatment.

Also, in the same issue, there are three unrelated commentaries regarding vaccine policy (thanks to Ben Gold for these references):

  • New York City Childcare Influenza Mandate (YT Yang, J Colgrove. JAMA Pediatr 2019; 173: 119-20)
  • Lessons from California’s Discipline of a Popular Physician for Vaccination Exemptions Without Medical Cause (RD Silverman, YT Yang. JAMA Pediatr 2019; 173: 121-2)
  • Requiring Human Papillomavirus Vaccination for School Entry  (MJ Bayefsky, LO Gastin. JAMA Pediatr 2019; 173: 123-4)

The first of these commentaries discusses the implications of NYC influenza 2013 mandate for infants/children 6 mo-59 months.  After implementation, there was an increase in vaccination rates by 11.4% which dropped back after a legal challenge. The second commentary discusses the California State Board’s discipline of a vaccine skeptic, Dr. ‘Bob’ Sears. The final commentary calls for mandating the HPV vaccine. (Related post: HPV Vaccine Eliminating Cervical Cancer)

View from Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park

Prevent HPV

The CDC currently recommends HPV vaccine at 11-12 years of age.  HPV Vaccine Information

Here’s why: NY Times: Close to Half of Americans with HPV

An excerpt:

More than 42 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 59 are infected with genital human papillomavirus, according to the first survey to look at the prevalence of the virus in the adult population.

The report, published on Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics, found that high-risk strains of the virus — a cause of cervical and vaginal cancers, and cancer of the penis, as well as cancers of the anus and throat in both sexes — infect 25.1 percent of men and 20.4 percent of women.

The virus is transmitted by skin to skin contact; people who are infected may pass the virus to sexual partners…

“If we can get 11- and 12-year-olds to get the vaccine, we’ll make some progress,” Dr. McQuillan said. “You need to give it before kids become sexually active, before they get infected. By the time they’re in their mid-twenties, people are infected and it’s too late. This is a vaccine against cancer — that’s the message.”

Related blog post: Latest Vaccine Recommendations