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MEDIA CONTACT: David March
Media Relations and Public Affairs
Johns Hopkins Medicine
November 20, 2006
* * PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT * *
EAST BALTIMORE COMMUNITY FORUM ON PANDEMIC FLU
Johns Hopkins flu experts will host a community education forum from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Friday, Dec. 1, to discuss how people can best protect themselves and their families from infection during a flu pandemic.
The event will be held at the East Baltimore Development Inc. Resource Center, at 1731 Chase Street, and will include a free flu vaccination clinic sponsored by the Baltimore City Health Department from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Attendance at the forum, which is also open to the media, is free. Flu shots are also free, and children under age 9 may require two doses.
Certified infection control specialist Pat Rosenbaum, R.N., a nurse epidemiologist at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, will lead the discussion, offering practical tips on how to reduce the risks of flu infection and prevent it from spreading should a family member get sick. Rosenbaum, who has spearheaded many successful efforts to increase infection control among health care workers, will also describe Hopkins’ plans to help safeguard the community, hospital staff and patients in the event of a worldwide outbreak. A question-and-answer session will follow her remarks.
“The best way to guard against catching the flu in any year is to get your annual flu shot and to practice good handwashing,” says Rosenbaum. “The vaccine is the best means of lowering your chance of catching the most likely strains of flu virus.” Each year, nearly 40,000 Americans die from influenza, many of them elderly or ill, with weakened immune systems that cannot readily fend off the disease.
Rosenbaum helped launch the “Please cover your sneeze” campaign at Hopkins in 2003, which was successful in improving staff compliance with infection control procedures.