The universal occurrence of ASD was queried about twenty-six years ago. It was thought to occur only in western industrialized countries with high technological development. Over the last decade, knowledge about ASD and its prevalence had been documented to be on the rise in different regions of the world with most literatures coming from the western world but the present situation in Africa on aspects of ASD remained unclear.
To assess perspectives of literatures cited in pubmed over the last decade on aspects of epidemiology, diagnosis, aetiology and knowledge about ASD among Africans.
Key words like autism, diagnosis, aetiology, knowledge and Africa were variously combined in doing a pubmed search of literatures published over the last decade about ASD among Africans.
No study addressed specifically epidemiology of ASD in Africa. One of the two studies that were relevant addressed epidemiology of ASD in Arab countries, though included two Northern African countries. Higher proportion of non-verbal cases of ASD compared to verbal cases was documented in literature coming from Africa. Associated co-morbid disorders included intellectual disability, epilepsy and oculo-cutaneous albinism. Aetiological factors postulated were post-encephalitic infection, genetic and auto-immune factors, vitamin D aetiological hypothesis among others. Knowledge about ASD in Africa was noted to be low.
There is need for epidemiological studies in Africa to define the magnitude of the problem of ASD and characteristics of children affected by ASD in this region. This would help in planning and might be helpful in answering the bothering question of aetiology of ASD. More policy making attention need to be directed at issues of childhood developmental disorders in Africa.
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See more of: Prevalence, Risk factors & Intervention