Maine CDC Press Release

May 2, 2009

Antiviral Supplies from U.S. CDC Begin Arriving in Maine

Governor's Office

AUGUSTA – The first shipments of antiviral drugs and protective equipment released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began arriving in Maine early today.

The materials were distributed by the Maine National Guard to nine regional medical facilities around the State, which will distribute the supplies to other hospitals as needed. According to U.S. CDC directives, the antiviral drugs received today are intended to treat only persons considered seriously ill and who are hospitalized.

The shipments included antiviral drugs, protective masks, gloves and other medical equipment.

On Wednesday, April 29, Maine ordered a significant stockpile of antiviral drugs. Those shipments will begin arriving in the State as early as Tuesday, May 5.

"So far, the symptoms associated with the influenza H1N1 virus have been mild in Maine," said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, the Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. "As more people become infected with the virus, we could see a broader range of symptoms. The steps we are taking will help ensure that we have appropriate treatments on hand. Our top priority is to keep our people safe and to slow the spread of H1N1."

There is no vaccine for the H1N1 influenza. U.S. CDC reports that a vaccine is currently being produced and may be available this fall. Antiviral drugs do not create immunity or cure the disease, but they do slow the spread of the disease and lessen symptoms.

No new individuals have been identified with H1N1 since Friday.

Totals as of Saturday, May 2: two adults in Kennebec County, two adults and one youth in York County, and one youth in Penobscot County. All are recovering.

"As we see more individuals with H1N1, the actual number of probable cases will become less important," said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, the Director of the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We know the H1N1 influenza is in Maine and our priority is to slow its transmission and to treat those who may become seriously ill with it."

Dr. Mills re-iterated the need for people to stay informed, be prepared, and most importantly practice proper respiratory hygiene, including the following steps:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.

For facts about influenza, and more information about H1N1 flu, please visit the Maine CDC and U.S. CDC Web sites. Some specific resources: Maine CDC Web site on Swine Flu: www.mainepublichealth.gov; or http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/boh/swine-flu-2009.shtml U.S. CDC Web site on Swine Flu: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/ Preventing the Flu: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm