Maine CDC Press Release

January 25, 2019

Influenza Continues to Spread, Maine CDC Urges Mainers to Take Caution

It's not too late to get vaccinated

AUGUSTA, ME - With influenza cases continuing to rise throughout the State and likely entering widespread status within the next two weeks, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is reminding Mainers to take proper precautions to keep themselves healthy.

"Influenza season most often peaks between December and March, but activity can occur year round," noted Maine CDC Director, Dr. Bruce Bates. "That is why it is so important for Mainers to continue taking precautions to keep themselves and others safe and healthy."

For millions of people every season, influenza means a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and can result in more severe symptoms. During the 2017-2018 influenza season, the federal CDC estimates influenza caused:

  • 49 million influenza illnesses - more than the combined populations of Texas and Florida.
  • 960,000 influenza hospitalizations - more than the number of staffed hospital beds in the United States.
  • 79,000 deaths - more than the average number of people who attend the Super Bowl each year.

So far during this year's influenza season, Maine has seen a total of 1,114 positive influenza test results with 88 hospitalizations.

The most effective way to prevent the spread of influenza is to get vaccinated. Influenza vaccination can reduce a person's risk of influenza illness, doctors' visits, and missed work and school due to influenza. The influenza vaccine can also reduce the severity of the illness, should a person contract the illness. Studies show the influenza vaccine saves children's lives, prevents serious events associated with chronic lung disease, diabetes and heart disease, and prevents influenza-related hospitalization among working-age and older adults.

"It's not too late to get an influenza vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones," added Dr. Bates. "As long as influenza viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination should continue throughout the season."

There are also some simple steps that can be taken to reduce the spread of the illness. Mainers should follow the Maine CDC's "No Flu 4 You" guidelines to help stay healthy:

  1. Wash your hands;
  2. Cover your cough;
  3. Stay home when you're sick; and again,
  4. Get vaccinated.

For more information on influenza, please visit: www.maineflu.gov

To find the nearest influenza vaccination center, please visit: www.vaccinefinder.org/

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