Maine CDC Press Release

May 3, 2009

Seventh Case of H1N1 Influenza Identified

Governor's Office

AUGUSTA – The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention today has identified a new adult in York County as having the H1N1 influenza, bringing the State total to seven.

Totals as of Sunday, May 3: Two adults in Kennebec County, three adults and one youth in York County, and one youth in Penobscot County. All are recovering.

"We are continuing to examine the specific facts around these cases," said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, Director of the Maine CDC. "None of the individuals have been hospitalized and all are recovering. Our goal remains to slow the spread of H1N1 influenza and to protect public health."

In addition, Maine CDC continues to closely monitor guidance for mitigating the spread of H1N1 that is being developed by the U.S. CDC.

There has been confusion resulting from terminology used to describe cases of H1N1. In some instances, cases have been called “confirmed” or “probable.” A probable case means that tests performed by Maine CDC show a person has H1N1. Probable cases are then sent to U.S. CDC for final confirmation. As the number of cases increases, U.S. CDC is unlikely to verify every occurrence of the H1N1 virus.

The antiviral drugs and protective equipment released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from the national stockpile arrived in Maine on Saturday.

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 on Saturday are intended to treat only persons considered seriously ill and who are hospitalized.

In total, the State received 50,000 treatment courses of the antivirals Relenza and Tamiflu from the national stockpile. The shipments also included 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.

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.

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