In recent years, it has been suggested that the increasing incidence of autism diagnosed in Poland highlights improved diagnostics as well as the recorded increase in morbidity. The precise number of individuals with autism in Poland has not been determined, and current sources are unable to provide unequivocal Polish data.The aim of this study is to compare the epidemiology of autism-related disorders in Poland with other European countries and the United States.Statistical data provided by the Polish National Health Fund Headquarters in June 2013 and data pooled from international journal articles were analyzed in detail.The National Health Fund reported that 13261 individuals up to 18 years of age received health services for autism and related disorders in Poland in 2012. This is a prevalence rate of 3.4 cases per 10000 individuals. Incidence rates vary in different Polish regions, with the highest rates recorded in the following voivodships: warmińsko-mazurskie (6.5 cases per 10000 individuals), śląskie (5.0), and pomorskie (4.6). The provinces with lowest rates were podlaskie (2.1), małopolskie (1.9), zachodniopomorskie (1.9), and łódzkie (1.8). These rates are far lower than those in European countries (20 per 10000) and United States (200 per 10000) epidemiological surveys.Information on the prevalence of autism in Poland and in the world remains unclear and imprecise. This results from global differences in diagnostic criteria. There is urgent need to develop global standards for the diagnosis of autism in children.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.