Large increase in ASD prevalence in Israel between 2017 and 2021

Ilan Dinstein, Shirley Solomon, Michael Zats, Ronit Shusel, Raphael Lottner, Bella Ben Gershon, Gal Meiri, Idan Menashe, Dorit Shmueli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Accurate estimation of annual changes in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) prevalence is critical for planning the expansion of diagnostic, education, and intervention services at an adequate rate. Previous studies from Israel have reported that ASD prevalence among 8-year-old children has increased from estimates of 0.3% in 2008 to 0.65% in 2015 and 1.3% in 2018. Here, we analyzed data acquired from the National Insurance Institute of Israeli (NII), a governmental organization that approves and monitors all ASD children who receive welfare services in Israel, and Clalit Health Services (CHS), the largest Health Maintenance Organization in Israel that provides health services to ~52% of the population. Data from both sources included annual data files from 2017 to 2021 containing the number of ASD cases per year of birth for 1–17-year-old children. This allowed us to estimate annual ASD prevalence among 3.5 million children born between 2000 and 2020 in Israel. Both data sources revealed a nearly two-fold increase in ASD prevalence among 1–17-year-old children from 2017 to 2021. Estimated prevalence rates differed across age groups with 2–3-year-old (day-care) children increasing from 0.27% to 1.19% (>4 fold change), 4–6-year-old (pre-school) children increasing from 0.8% to 1.83%, and 8-year-old children increasing from 0.82% to 1.56% in NII data. These results demonstrate that autism prevalence continues to increase in Israel with a shift towards diagnosis at earlier ages. These findings highlight the challenge facing health and education service providers in meeting the needs of a rapidly growing autism population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-418
Number of pages9
JournalAutism Research
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2024

Keywords

  • ASD
  • Israel
  • autism
  • diagnosis
  • epidemiology
  • incidence
  • prevalence
  • time trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • General Neuroscience

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