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 May 12, 2005
California Flu Strain To Be Included in Next Year's Vaccine
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Next year's flu vaccine will be changed to protect against a rapidly spreading flu strain first identified in California last month, according to the World Health Organization.

The strain -- A/California/7/2004(H3N2) -- has been identified in more than 20 percent of influenza viruses seen in patients in the past few weeks. This flu strain is expected to be the dominant one circulating next season in the Northern Hemisphere, The New York Times reported.

On Thursday, a international panel of flu experts recommended that the California flu strain be included in next year's vaccine.

The A/California strain was first identified in a specimen collected in September from an influenza patient in Santa Clara County. In January, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified A/California as a new flu strain, the Times reported.

A standard flu shot contains three influenza strains. A/California will replace A/Fujian in next season's vaccine. The other two current strains -- A/New Caledonia 20/99 (H1N1) and B/Shanghai/361/2002 -- will remain in the vaccine, the newspaper said.


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