Two new cases of autism spectrum disorder in the ER have been identified in the past month, the first such case in Texas in two years.
The new cases have been reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention (CDCP) and the Texas Medical Association (TMA).
The two cases were confirmed on January 17, 2017 and January 19, 2017, respectively.
Dr. Scott Schmitt, associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said the new cases are especially concerning.
“The majority of these new cases come in the first year after a child is diagnosed with ASD,” Schmitt said.
“If a child’s first year is any indication, it’s a very early diagnosis.”
Dr. Eric Wichman, a pediatric neurologist at Baylor Children’s Hospital, said he was very concerned by the new diagnoses.
“It’s very concerning,” Wichmann said.
“We have very few data points for this syndrome.
We don’t know what the underlying causes are.”
He said it’s important for clinicians to know that the cases aren’t the result of the virus, which is a different story.
“There are a number of factors, and I’m not going to say the cause,” Witchman said.
“I think we need to be very careful with how we interpret the data.”
Dr Wichma said it was also important for families to understand that the first two cases are the exception, not the rule.
“These are children who are at risk for severe ASD, and if you’re not going into that environment and the family is not aware that they’re at risk, they’re not likely to get better,” he said.
Wichman said if families do not take the proper steps to monitor their child for ASD, the risk for their child is much higher.
“For parents who do have the ability to get information, the information is that they should monitor their children for any symptoms or behaviors that may be indicative of ASD,” he added.
“And if there’s no symptoms, then they should go home and check themselves.
The more symptoms they have, the more likely they are to develop autism.”
The first case in January was reported by Dr. Jody Tipton, the director of the University Health System Children’s Clinic at Baylor Health Science Center in Houston.
“At this point, it is not clear what the cause of this outbreak is,” Tiptons hospital said in a statement.
“This outbreak is not related to nor does it represent any known pandemic.”
Tiptons clinic is home to two children with ASD, both of whom were tested for the virus.
One of them is a male who is the youngest in the family.
He had the virus and symptoms for four days before he tested positive for the condition.
“Our child has been at Baylor Hospital since December 11, 2016,” Tipps said.
She said she had already sent her children to other clinics and was confident the children were safe.
“My hope is that there are no other cases and that our kids are not at risk of getting another one,” she said.
The second case in February was reported to the Texas Office of the Public Health Services by Dr William A. Staley, the assistant secretary of state for health services.
“I have been contacted by the state’s health department and am aware of the latest reports,” Staley said in an email.
“The T&M and the CDC have also been in touch with the family and will be providing assistance with appropriate testing.”
“I encourage parents and caregivers to follow CDC guidelines for children and their caregivers and make sure to keep up with any additional testing and testing schedules,” Stacey said.