Gun violence produces a hefty price tag for U.S. health care system and taxpayers; children swimming injuries are on the rise; and indoor health assessed in Pittsburgh area schools. Read these and more public health news stories for March 28, 2013.

Huffington Post – Gun violence costs U.S. health care system, taxpayers billions each year
The bullet exploded like a fragment from the past, piercing his present and laying waste to the future he envisioned. It tore through Jerome Graham’s back, wrecked his spleen, damaged his pancreas and kidney, and left him paralyzed from the waist down.
And while the direct medical consequences of that gunshot fired a year ago in East Baltimore end there, the full force of its destruction has reverberated more broadly, encompassing Graham’s friends, his family, his community. It has carried into the American health care system, while confronting American taxpayers with costs reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars.

U.S. News and World Report – FDA approves new multiple sclerosis drug
A new drug called Tecfidera has been approved to treat adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.
The approval is based on the results of two clinical trials showing that patients who took Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) capsules had fewer MS relapses than those who took an inactive placebo. One of the trials also showed that a worsening of MS-related disability occurred less often in patients who took the drug than in those who took the placebo.

Fox News – Kids’ swimming injuries on the rise
More kids are going to the emergency room for swimming injuries than 20 years ago, a new study finds.
Researchers discovered that an estimated 1.6 million swimming injuries occurred in the United States between 1990 and 2008. The number of injuries in a year increased from nearly 80,000 in 1990 to 93,000 in 2008.

Washington University in St. Louis news – Inaugural infectious disease conference brings global health leaders to St. Louis
HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases still kill millions worldwide each year.
On April 12, leading infectious diseases researchers from around the globe and those here at Washington University will gather on the medical school campus for a conference that highlights new developments and ongoing challenges in the field. The theme of this year’s conference is tropical and geographical diseases.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette – Indoor health at schools studied
For the second-grader with asthma, a teacher wearing a little too much perfume or a classroom that has a layer of dust can produce a stay-at-home sick day as easily as a cold virus.
And just because smoking is prohibited in a high school doesn’t necessarily mean the building is free of air pollution.
Issues of indoor health with school buildings are moving to the center of the blackboard in two local schools districts that are partnering with an endowed initiative known as the Healthy Schools Collaboration.