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KAISER PERMANENTE: NEW INFANT VACCINE WIPES OUT SOME KILLER DISEASES

KAISER PERMANENTE: NEW INFANT VACCINE WIPES OUT SOME KILLER DISEASES
 OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- A vaccine to immunize infants against bacterial meningitis and several other childhood diseases is proving so effective that the potentially lethal illnesses are being virtually eliminated as a threat, according to Kaiser Permanente researchers.
 A study published in the August 1992 issue of The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal showed that 94 percent of children younger than 18 months who received the newly licensed Haemophilus influenza type b vaccine, did not contract bacterial meningitis. (Haemophilus influenza type b is a bacterium that also can cause other childhood diseases such as pneumonia, arthritis and inflammations of bone marrow and membrane surrounding the heart.)
 Henry Shinefield, MD, and Steven Black, MD, who head the Kaiser Permanente Pediatric Vaccine Study Center, first evaluated the vaccine in 1985 involving a study of 61,080 children. Since the vaccine's licensure in 1991, an additional 75,000 children have received doses at 2,4 and 6 months of age, usually in combination with DPT and oral polio vaccines. Only three children contracted meningitis last year and no cases have been seen so far this year. "The important cause of meningitis in infancy has been virtually eliminated," said Shinefield.
 Meningitis is a potentially deadly infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Nationwide, the disease strikes between 12,000 and 15,000 young children each year.
 Kaiser Permanente's large pediatric population of 704,698 children and teens under age 19, including nearly 30,000 infants under one year, is ideal for the widespread field-testing needed before a vaccine can be approved for general use as safe and effective. A second advantage is the diversity of the organization's membership and the ability to use any or all of Kaiser Permanente's medical centers and 15 freestanding medical offices in Northern California.
 Drs. Black and Shinefield have many years of research experience in pediatric infections and vaccines. Last year, the Kaiser Permanente Pediatric Vaccine Study Center received a $4.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control to establish a database to track the immunization patterns of some 100,000 children. Kaiser Permanente is one of three health maintenance organizations to be awarded CDC grants and eight of its Northern California medical centers are participating in this five-year project.
 Kaiser Permanente is the largest group practice HMO in the nation. Founded in 1945, it is a non-profit corporation with headquarters in Oakland. It has more than 6.3 million voluntarily enrolled members in 12 regions. In Northern California, Kaiser Permanente has 2.4 million members (about 29 percent of the population) and is Northern California's largest private employer with approximately 30,000 employees.
 BIOGRAPHIES
 Stephen Black, M.D.
 Dr. Black is co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Pediatric Vaccine Study Center, a pediatrician at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Oakland and an associate investigator in the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. Since 1978, he has also been an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, in the Pediatrics Deparment and an assistant research physician for UC's George Hooper Foundation. Dr. Black is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. He is a fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of America.
 Henry Shinefield, M.D.
 Dr. Shinefield is co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Pediatric Vaccine Study Center, emeritus chief of the pediatrics division of The Permanente Medical Group and a pediatrician at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Francisco. He is a member of the Committee on Vaccine Development of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Science and a consultant to the Food and Drug Administration and the national Institutes of Health. His other appointments include clinical professor of Pediatrics and Dermatology at the University of California and an attending physician at UC's Moffit Hospital. Dr. Shinefield is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, where he is both a member of the board of directors and an examiner.
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 /CONTACT: Beverly Hayon of Kaiser Permanente, 510-987-3290/ CO: Kaiser Permanente ST: California IN: MTC SU: PDT


SG-SJ -- SF015 -- 8974 11/09/92 18:20 EST
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Date:Nov 9, 1992
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