APHAAPHA applauds confirmation of Vivek Murthy as U.S. surgeon general
Statement by Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director, American Public Health Association

“The American Public Health Association expresses gratitude to the members of the U.S. Senate who voted to confirm Dr. Vivek Murthy today as our nation’s 19th surgeon general, which fills a vital leadership position in our nation’s health system.

“We have been strong supporters of Dr. Murthy for the nation’s ‘top doc’ position because he is uniquely qualified to carry out its three important duties: to lead the more than 6,500 men and women of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps; to chair the National Prevention Council; and to effectively communicate the best science around prevention and health to help improve the health of the American people. Dr. Murthy’s experience demonstrates a commitment to prevention, strong leadership qualities and a bright mind to take the latest science and turn it into better health outcomes.”

Reuters – Drug-resistant malaria: the world’s next big health crisis?
Ka Lar Nar caught malaria for the sixth time when he was working away from home on his small farm in the jungle of south-eastern Myanmar but this time it was a lot harder to get rid of it.
After testing positive for malaria he got a three-day course of drugs from a community health volunteer in his village but even though his fever subsided, he continued to be plagued by headaches and another test still showed positive results.
Experts say his case could be an indication of drug resistance to the mosquito-borne disease, which has been spreading in Myanmar and other countries in the Mekong River basin in what threatens to become the next big global health emergency if it marches on to India and Africa.

Fox News – Indoor tanning can lead to burns, fainting, eye injuries
Indoor tanning can send people to the emergency room for burns, eye injuries and losing consciousness, according to U.S. health officials.
“It’s important for people to understand both the long-term and the short-term risks of indoor tanning,” said Gery P. Guy Jr. of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.
Many immediate risks are also associated with higher risk of health issues later on, like skin cancer, said Guy.
“For example, burns increase the risk of skin cancer later in life, while eye injuries from intense UV exposure may lead to cataracts and eye melanoma,” he told Reuters Health by email. “People trying to get tan to look good need to understand that they might get a burn rather than a tan, and that tanned skin is also damaged skin.”

MPR News – Despite flu vaccine confusion, experts say it still helps
A public health message about flu is generating debate about the effectiveness of the vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control warned earlier this month that this year’s flu vaccine could provide less protection than usual against the H3N2 subtype of influenza A that is circulating widely. That led some flu experts to say that the message is confusing.
Although the vaccine is not well matched against the dominant strain of the flu this year, it still could protect people, said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

TIME – How Congress’ spending bill will keep school lunches salty
A massive spending bill is heading to the President’s desk this week, and along with it comes a stab at the healthy school food policies championed by First Lady Michelle Obama.
The 2010 healthy food guidelines that call for more fresh fruit and whole grains and fewer French fries and sugary treats on the lunch trays of America’s students have sparked ire in cafeterias for the past couple of years. Hashtags were spawned (#ThanksMichelle). Congress waspetitioned. Op-eds were penned. And, on Saturday, those calling for a rollback of some provisions of the Hunger Free Healthy Kids Act got their wish.