Connecticut considers making flu vaccines mandatory; new survey shows one in 50 school kids have autism; and recent poll shows that many Americans still don’t understand the Affordable Care Act. Read these and more public health news stories for March 21, 2013.

The Examiner – Mandatory flu vaccinations considered in Connecticut
Connecticut legislators are preparing for next year’s flu season.
Public Health Committee members are meeting today to hear testimony on a proposed bill (GA-1182) to require flu shots for health care employees who have direct contact with patients or medical facility residents.

Huffington Post – Kansas ban on AIDS quarantines may be repealed in public health reform
A Kansas bill would repeal the state’s 1988 ban on quarantining individuals with HIV and AIDS as part of broader changes to its public health practices.
Under the proposal — which has passed the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives and is pending in the Republican-controlled state Senate — the power to issue any public health quarantine, as necessary, would shift to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. In the process, the bill would restore AIDS “or any causative agent” to the category of infectious diseases that might constitute the basis for quarantine or isolation.

FOX News – Health officials: 1 in 50 school kids have autism
A government survey of parents says 1 in 50 U.S. schoolchildren has autism, surpassing another federal estimate for the disorder.
Health officials say the new number doesn’t mean autism is occurring more often. But it does suggest that doctors are diagnosing autism more frequently, especially in children with milder problems.

Huffington Post – Regular exercise during young adulthood could improve brain functioning later on, study finds
Maintaining an active lifestyle throughout childhood and young adulthood could pay off big time for your brain later on in life, according to a new study.
Researchers from King’s College London found that people who were regular exercisers throughout their lives did better on mental tests when they were 50, compared with their more sedentary peers.

Kaiser Health News – Poll: Three years later, Americans still don’t understand health law
It’s been three years since President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, yet two-thirds of uninsured adults — the very people the law sets out to help — say they still don’t know what it means for them.
Sixty-seven percent of the uninsured younger than age 65 — and 57 percent of the overall population — say they do not understand how the ACA will impact them, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation). The poll also found that Americans’ expectations of how the law will affect health care costs, quality and consumer protections are more negative than positive.