As More Autism Reported, Doctors Say Check Early

New goverment data suggests autism rates have climbed 23 percent since 2006. 

Posted: 04/02/2012 11:48 AM EDT
autism, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health News, racial disparities

CHICAGO (AP) — More kids are being diagnosed as autistic — including surge in Hispanic children — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency says about 1 in 88 children has the disorder. The latest numbers are based on 2008 data from 14 states and suggest that autism rates have climbed 23 percent since 2006. Rates are highest in boys and white children.

But the biggest rate increase was among Hispanics, from 1 in 270 in 2002 to about 1 in 125 in 2008.

Experts, including CDC researchers, think broader screening and better diagnosis have largely contributed to that. But autism's cause remains a mystery, and government researchers are seeking answers.

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(Photo: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)