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What We’re Reading: RSV Cases Rise; Looming AIDS Program Deadline; Potential Early Autism Diagnosis


The CDC reports an increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases among young children and babies; the deadline looms for reauthorizing the United States’ global AIDS program as it has become a topic within the abortion debate; an eye-tracking device may help to diagnose autism spectrum disorder earlier.

RSV Cases Rise Among Young Children and Babies

The CDC has alerted doctors about a rise in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases among young children and babies in Georgia and Florida, according to CNN. The late-summer increase suggests that RSV is falling into a typical seasonal pattern after several years of early viral activity caused by the pandemic. The CDC reported that from August 5 to 19, RSV-related hospitalizations increased from 2 in 100,000 kids aged 4 and younger to 7 per 100,000, the majority of which were in babies younger than 1 year. Doctors have been advised by the CDC to be ready with a new RSV vaccine for young children to help prevent them from developing the infection.

Global AIDS Program Deadline Looms With No Deal in Sight

Congress is likely to blow past a September 30 deadline to reauthorize the law that governs PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), the United States’ global HIV/AIDS relief work, as it has become a topic within the fight over abortion, according to Politico. Members of both parties do not see a clear path to reviving the law by the end of the year because of competing interests. For example, Republican House members and conservative advocates allege that some of PEPFAR’s annual budget of nearly $7 billion flows to abortion providers, which the Biden administration, program leaders, and outside experts deny.

Potential Earlier Autism Diagnosis With Eye-Tracking Device

A device that follows kids’ eye movements while watching a video of 2 children interacting may help diagnose autism spectrum disorder earlier, according to NBC News. Studies suggest that the tablet-based device can identify autism in children aged 16 to 30 months as accurately as a specialist. It monitors the video viewer’s eye movements at a rate of 120 times a second, allowing specialists to determine what social information children are taking in; typically developing children focus on the interaction while those with autism focus on other spots in the video. With this device, results can be available in 30 minutes.

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