A new type of influenza A virus has been discovered in fruit bats in Central America, but does it present a threat to human health? Plus, new guidelines out today recommend the use of the HPV vaccine for boys.  And read why some researchers say cheaper natural gas attributed to a recent decline in carbon emissions. Those stories and more topping public health headlines today, Tuesday, February 28, 2012.  

Medscape – HPV Vaccine Recommended for Boys in New AAP Guidelines
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has published new guidelines for the use of the human papillomavirus vaccine and, for the first time, has specifically recommended use of the vaccine in adolescent boys as well as girls. The recommendations were published online February 27 and in the March print issue of Pediatrics.

Nature News – Bats harbour influenza
Fruit bats in Guatemala are hosting a novel subtype of influenza A virus, according to a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

San Jose Mercury News – Santa Clara County leaders to tighten nutritional standards at county facilities
In what is being called the most comprehensive healthy food and beverage policy in the state — and possibly the nation — Santa Clara County leaders on Tuesday are prepared to approve cutting-edge nutritional standards for any drink or edible that’s sold, served or offered at county facilities.

Washington Post – School health clinics face obstacles — and how Arne Duncan could help
A contentious debate in education policy concerns whether the low achievement of disadvantaged children is attributable primarily to social and economic conditions that bring them to school relatively unready to learn, or to public schools whose ineffective teachers fail to instruct. Certainly, differences in home literacy, health, out-of-school time, and teacher effectiveness all may play a role.

The Chronicle of Higher Education – A Bachelor’s Degree After Age 25 Brings Health in Midlife, Study Finds
Older students, take note: Adults who earn a bachelor’s degree after age 25 are healthier in midlife than those who never attain a college degree, according to a new study by researchers at the University of South Carolina at Columbia.

Science Blog – Reduction in U.S. carbon emissions attributed to cheaper natural gas
Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have shown that the primary explanation for the reduction in CO2 emissions from power generation that year was that a decrease in the price of natural gas reduced the industry’s reliance on coal.