Maine CDC Press Release

May 6, 2009

Maine H1N1 Caseload increases to 10

Four of the Five York County Cases Confirmed by U.S. CDC

AUGUSTA – The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention identified three new cases of the H1N1 influenza, bringing the total number of identified cases in the State to 10. Newly identified cases include a child in Cumberland County, and one adult in both York and Kennebec Counties.

Totals as of Wednesday, May 6, are as follows: five in York County (four adults, one child); three adults in Kennebec County; and one child each in Cumberland County and Penobscot County. Four of the five York County cases have been confirmed by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and half of the 10 people in Maine with H1N1 have a history of travel.

"We expect that as this virus spreads, we will see more Mainers with H1N1 who have not traveled," said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, Director of the Maine CDC. "Our goal remains to slow the spread of H1N1 and we can do that by following proper respiratory hygiene and staying informed."

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.

Maine’s current allocation for the federal Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) antiviral medications and personal protection equipment (PPE) has been placed at nine pre-defined regional distribution hospitals. A system for request and distribution of emergency medications has been in place for sometime and was developed in partnership with the hospitals, Maine CDC and the Northern New England Poison Center.

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.

Mills re-iterated the steps all should take to minimize the spread of H1N1 or any type of influenza:

  • 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:

For facts about influenza, and more information about H1N1 flu and schools:

Maine CDC: www.mainepublichealth.gov; or www.maine.gov/dhhs/boh/swine-flu-2009.shtml

U.S. CDC: www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

Preventing the Flu: www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm

Maine Department of Education: www.maine.gov/education/h1n1/

Contact: David Farmer, 207-287-2531 (cell) 207-557-5968 John Martins, 207-287-5012 (cell) 557-1474