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Autism rates head up

South Korea study raises doubts about prevalence estimates elsewhere

South Korea just sent autism prevalence rates surging north. Autism spectrum disorders affect an estimated 2.64 percent of the nation’s schoolchildren, or about 1 in 38 youngsters, a new study finds.

That’s a considerably higher figure than has been reported in the United States, England and elsewhere, where prevalence estimates range between 0.07 percent and 1.8 percent. A 2006 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 1 in 110 children had an autism spectrum disorder, at that time considered a surprisingly high rate.

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