Maine CDC Press Release

December 9, 2009

Maine CDC Reports Two More H1N1 Deaths

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH
(207)-287-3266

AUGUSTA – The Maine CDC in the Department of Health and Human Services reported two more deaths related to H1N1 Tuesday – one a Mainer age 50-65 who died out of state and the other, a person older than age 65 from Penobscot County. Maine has now reported 13 deaths from H1N1 and multiple underlying medical conditions have been a factor in all cases.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the deceased,’’ said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, Director of the Maine CDC. “This news demonstrates how severe influenza can be, especially in adults with underlying medical conditions, pregnant women, and children.”

Since first being recognized in April 2009, novel influenza A (H1N1) has spread across the globe. In June, a pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization. Children and young adults are disproportionately affected by H1N1, accounting for the majority of confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. An estimated 4,000 people in the United States have died of H1N1. In August, a York County man in his 50s was the first Maine resident reported to die of the pandemic strain of H1N1.

Over the past six weeks, H1N1 has become widespread in Maine and 12 other adults have died from H1N1.

“People should assume they will be exposed to the H1N1 influenza at some point, and as vaccine supply increases in Maine, we should all take precautions to prevent serious illness,” Mills said.

These precautions include:

  • When vaccine is available, consider getting H1N1 flu vaccine if you are in a high priority group. Those in these groups include: pregnant women, anyone 6 months – 25 years of age, caregivers and household contacts of young infants <6 months old, anyone 25 – 65 with underlying medical conditions, and health care workers. Eventually there should be sufficient vaccine for anyone who desires it.
  • Contact your health care provider if there are flu-like symptoms in a household in which anyone is younger than 2 years old, 65 years or older, pregnant, and/or has an underlying medical condition. There are prescription medicines (antivirals such as Tamiflu) that may help reduce the severity and duration of the illness.
  • Although most people can stay home without seeing a health care provider, anyone with the flu should seek medical attention for:
    • Dehydration
    • Trouble breathing
    • Getting better, then suddenly getting a lot worse
    • Any major change in one’s condition
  • Stay home if you are sick, until you are fever-free for a full 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medicine.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow, or into a tissue. Throw this tissue away.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, but especially after coughing and sneezing. Alcohol-based hand gels can also be used.
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes. Germs can be spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid contact with sick people. If you are at very high risk for complication, you may want to avoid large crowds.

For more information, http://www.maineflu.gov .