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Kiwanis International And Chiron Vaccines International (CHIR)' THRIVE(TM) Program Encourages Widespread Flu Education And Vaccination


11/29/2005 11:28:11 AM

INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Kiwanis International, a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time, in partnership with Chiron Vaccines, a leading manufacturer of influenza vaccine, is encouraging communities nationwide to increase awareness of the need for flu vaccination during this flu season. Called "THRIVE" (Tackling Health Risk of Influenza with Vaccination & Education), this initiative aims to increase flu vaccination rates by helping educate those at high risk from complications from the flu, including young children, the elderly and the chronically ill.

Flu vaccination is the most effective way to prevent the spread of flu. THRIVE represents the first national effort by Kiwanis to educate and vaccinate individuals in communities nationwide. Throughout the flu season, local Kiwanis clubs will support THRIVE in their communities by organizing educational sessions, providing community outreach events and sponsoring flu vaccination clinics to emphasize the importance of vaccination in preventing the spread of flu.

"Kiwanis clubs are devoted to addressing the critical needs facing their communities-that's why we are proud to be introducing the THRIVE program as a means to encourage residents of every community to learn about the flu and get vaccinated," said Steve Siemens, President, Kiwanis International. "By preventing the spread of infection and illness in our children now, we hope to cultivate healthier future generations."

The flu is a contagious and potentially serious respiratory illness caused by a virus that attacks the upper respiratory tract. It is easily spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing or other respiratory droplets in the air. Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications and an average of 36,000 die. Complications can include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and the worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

"A common misperception about the flu is that it is equivalent to the common cold; however, influenza is a potentially very serious respiratory infection that, if left untreated, could lead to death," said Dr. Gregory Poland, Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. "Programs like THRIVE(TM) are important because they provide local flu education and vaccination to the public."

Flu season can begin as early as October and extend through March, often peaking in January or February. An annual vaccination helps protect against the flu and helps prevent the spread of infection. Certain segments of the population are more susceptible to complications related to the flu and are considered "high risk". These groups include the elderly, very young children and people with chronic illnesses. In addition, people who are in close contact with those considered "high risk" should get vaccinated against the flu so they do not transmit the virus. Educating and encouraging people to get vaccinated is the best defense against this contagious infection.

THRIVE supports the influenza vaccination guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccination clinics and educational events are being organized by Kiwanis clubs across the U.S., throughout the flu season. To learn more about the THRIVE program, visit http://www.kiwanis.org . To locate flu vaccination clinics in your area, visit http://www.flucliniclocator.org .

About Kiwanis International

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. Founded in 1915, the organization's 600,000 members comprise 8,600 clubs in more than 90 countries and geographic areas. Kiwanis members make their mark by responding to the needs of their communities and pooling their resources to address worldwide issues. Globally, Kiwanis International has focused humanitarian efforts on eliminating iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), through the Worldwide Service Project, a US$75 million campaign in partnership with UNICEF, which began in 1994. Kiwanis International and its sponsored service organizations for young people, including Circle K, Key Club, Key Leader, Builders Club, K-Kids, Kiwanis Junior and Aktion Club dedicate more than six million volunteer hours to strengthen communities and serve children annually. For more information about Kiwanis International, please visit http://www.kiwanis.org .

About CHIRON

Chiron delivers innovative and valuable products to protect human health by advancing pioneering science across the landscape of biotechnology. The company works to deliver on the limitless promise of science and make a positive difference in people's lives. For more information, please visit http://www.chiron.com .

For more information contact: Kerry Shehan, 212-715-1568, shehank@ruderfinn.com Stefanie Gordish, 312-240-2622, stefanie.gordish@edelman.com

Kiwanis International

CONTACT: Kerry Shehan, +1-212-715-1568, shehank@ruderfinn.com, or StefanieGordish, +1-312-240-2622, stefanie.gordish@edelman.com, both for KiwanisInternational


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