Maine CDC Press Release

December 2, 2004

Influenza Confirmed in Maine

Dora Anne Mills, MD
Director, Bureau of Health
Dept. of Health & Human Services
11 State House Station
Tel: (207) 287-3270
TTY: (207) 287-8066

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that influenza has been detected in Maine for the first time this season. Two adults, one a resident of Washington County, and the other a resident of Piscatiquis County, were confirmed to be infected with influenza A through testing at Affiliated Laboratories in Bangor. Several more people from other areas in Maine have tested presumptively positive at the Bureau of Health’s laboratory, the Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory. Confirmatory tests are pending.

“Maine typically first sees its first cases of influenza in November, with sporadic activity leading to outbreaks in December or January,” said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, Director of the Bureau of Health. She noted that a number of other states are also now reporting sporadic influenza activity.

“The good news is that over the past three weeks, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau of Health has distributed almost 140,000 influenza vaccine doses to over 1,000 physicians, nursing homes, home health agencies, and other health care providers across Maine. Another 22,000 doses are being distributed this week and next.” Dr. Mills added. “Overall, there should be enough vaccine for most Mainers who are in a high-risk group, so if you are 65 or over or younger with a chronic disease or pregnant, you should call your health care provider to see if they have vaccine.”

”With holiday gatherings over the coming weeks, it is especially important to follow the three basic steps of washing your hands frequently, muffling coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you are ill. This is especially important if you have fever or if you are visiting someone in a high-risk group,” concluded Dr. Mills.

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