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FOR RELEASE: December 21, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Two Cases of Flu Confirmed in Oklahoma City

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has confirmed two cases of influenza in Oklahoma City. The two cultures were confirmed by Oklahoma City hospitals and are being tested by the state health department's Public Health Laboratory for further confirmation and reporting to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. State health officials are encouraging people to get their flu shots as soon as possible, because it is not too late to protect themselves and their families from the flu.

Flu shots are available to any Oklahoman, regardless of whether or not they are considered high-risk individuals, for as long as the supply lasts. State health officials especially encourage persons over age 50 and those at high-risk for complications from influenza to get their flu shot. High-risk individuals include persons 65 years of age or older; persons with chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or breathing disorders; women who will be in their second or third trimester of pregnancy during the flu season; and health care workers and others who care for persons at risk for influenza.

Health officials also recommend pneumococcal vaccine for persons who are 65 years of age or older, or persons who have heart or lung problems or diabetes. This vaccine protects against pneumococcal pneumonia, the most common type of pneumonia resulting in hospitalizations. This vaccine is available at physicians' offices and county health departments.

For more information about the flu and pneumococcal vaccines, contact the county health department in your area.

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