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HEALTH DEPARTMENT URGES VACCINATIONS FOR THREE INFLUENZA STRAINS

 HEALTH DEPARTMENT URGES VACCINATIONS FOR THREE INFLUENZA STRAINS
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- State Health Secretary Dr. Allan S. Noonan today advised persons in "high-risk" groups to obtain vaccinations for the three strains of influenza expected in Pennsylvania during the upcoming winter flu season.
 Noonan said the federal Centers for Disease Control have informed states to expect influenza strains known as A/Beijing, A/Texas and B/Panama.
 "In an average influenza season, more than 10,000 persons in the United States die from the disease or its complications such as pneumonia," Noonan said. "In Pennsylvania, we may begin to see isolated cases of flu in late October, but our peak season usually runs from December through March."
 Noonan said people in high-risk groups should -- in consultation with their physicians -- obtain an influenza vaccine. This year's vaccine contains protection against all three anticipated flu strains.
 The high-risk groups include people who:
 -- Have chronic disorders of the heart, lungs, kidneys or immune system, and those with diabetes mellitus.
 -- Are age 65 or older.
 -- Reside in nursing homes and other chronic care facilities.
 -- Have extensive contact with those in high risk groups, such as health care professionals or persons living in the same house or institution as a high risk person.
 Because the influenza vaccine takes time to build up protection, Noonan suggested high-risk individuals should receive the inoculation anytime from early September to mid-November.
 The typical influenza case usually involves fever, chills, headache, sore throat and muscle aches.
 State Health Department epidemiologist Dr. Dale Tavris said in most cases, influenza seldom lasts more than a few days and most people recover within a week.
 Those infected with influenza may lessen the discomfort of the illness through bed rest, drinking more than the usual amounts of water and fruit juice and taking medication to reduce fever and muscle aches.
 Tavris cautioned that children should not be given medications containing aspirin.
 "Aspirin medications may increase the risk of Reye syndrome, a rare but serious illness associated with flu and other viral disease, including chickenpox," Tavris said.
 He added that a prescription drug -- amantadine -- may lessen the duration and severity of influenza if given early in the course of the illness. However, it only is effective against Type A influenza strains.
 Although symptoms are similar, Type A epidemics are generally more severe than Type B.
 /delval/
 -0- 9/2/92
 /CONTACT: Kathy Liebler, press secretary, of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, 717-787-1783/ CO: Pennsylvania Department of Health ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA SU:


MJ -- PH011 -- 5829 09/02/92 10:26 EDT
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Date:Sep 2, 1992
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