Maine CDC Press Release
May 7, 2009
Young Adult Hospitalized with H1N1 Virus
Pair of New Cases Brings Maine’s total to 12
AUGUSTA – Maine’s first probable H1N1 case requiring hospitalization was identified late Thursday afternoon.
Dr. Dora Anne Mills of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the patient is a young adult from Cumberland County with underlying chronic illness and is one of two newly identified H1N1 patients in Maine, the other being a student who attends Bridgton Academy. "As we continue to see H1N1 spread, it is not surprising to see an increase in severity," Mills said. "However, the key messages remain the same – if you have a fever with respiratory symptoms, stay home for seven days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours. Proper respiratory etiquette remains a critical component of reducing the spread of H1N1 and we all need to do our part."
Proper respiratory etiquette includes 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 hand cleaners are also effective.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you get sick with a fever and respiratory symptoms, stay home from work or school for seven days and limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.
In Maine, there are now 12 people identified with H1N1: four adults and one youth in York County; three adults in Kennebec County one young adult and two youths in Cumberland County and one youth in Penobscot County.
Mills said that as the infection spreads, the number of people identified with H1N1 becomes less meaningful. "We’ve conducted about 1,000 tests and we know that H1N1 is here in Maine," Mills said. "Unless the test results would change treatment, we are not always recommending testing. Suspicious cases do not need to be tested so long as they are in a low-risk group, do not need antivirals, and those who have the symptoms are staying home."
Mills said that H1N1 appears to be spreading more quickly among children, and asked that parents be vigilant about keeping their children at home when ill – especially if they have respiratory symptoms accompanied by a fever.
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 U.S. CDC has confirmed four cases in Maine – all in York County.
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.
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/
FOR MORE INFORMATION John Martins, DHHS 207-557-1474 (c) David Farmer, Governor’s Office 207-557-5968 (c)