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Posts Tagged ‘Somlian’

On the front of its Science Times section, the New York Times (3/17, D1, McNeil) reports that a community of Somali immigrants in the Minneapolis area fear there is an “outbreak” of autism among their children. “But public health experts say it is hard to tell whether the apparent surge of cases is an actual outbreak, with a cause that can be addressed, or just a statistical fluke.” To find out, “the Minnesota Department of Health is conducting an epidemiological survey in consultation with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This kind of conundrum, experts say, arises whenever there is a cluster of noncontagious illnesses.” And for autism, since the disease’s “cause…is unknown, the authorities in Minnesota say it is hard to know even what to investigate.” Still, “many Somali parents are baffled and scared,” and “antivaccine activists are campaigning among them, which worries public health officials, especially because some families go back and forth to Somalia, where measles is still a significant cause of childhood death.” But, “even if the department confirms that a cluster exists, it will not answer the question why.”

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