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Frieden to head US CDC

President Obama has selected the public health activist Thomas Frieden as director of the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

President Obama has selected the public health activist Thomas Frieden as director of the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Frieden has served as New York's top health official since 2002. He has led a campaign to ban smoking in restaurants and bars and pushed for routine HIV testing across the city. He also made food outlets state calories on their menus and banned trans-fatty acids from all restaurant food.

He is expected to take over as director of the CDC in June, as it continues to grapple with the swine flu outbreak. Although fears of a global pandemic have abated, there are still important decisions to be made, including whether and how to start making a vaccine for the virus.

The White House stated that Frieden "is an expert in preparedness and response to health emergencies, and has been at the forefront of the fight against heart disease, cancer and obesity, and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS."

Richard Besser, the agency's acting director since January, will resume his functions as head of the CDC's coordinating office for terrorism preparedness and emergency response. 

18th May 2009

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