Maine CDC Press Release
February 19, 2020
Maine Records First Flu-Related Child Death of Season
AUGUSTA – The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) was notified this week of the first pediatric influenza-associated death of the 2019-2020 flu season. The child from southern Maine was younger than 5 years old and was not vaccinated against influenza this season. The child tested positive for influenza B. To protect the family's privacy, the Maine CDC is releasing no further information about the death at this time.
Health providers in Maine must report influenza-associated deaths among those under age 18. An influenza-associated death is when a person dies after having symptoms and a positive influenza test. The Maine CDC has recorded 19 adult deaths that are at least partially attributable to the flu this season, according to death certificate data. Flu season typically runs from late September to May.
"We express our deep condolences to the family for their loss," said Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC.
Influenza causes a fever (≥100F) and a cough or sore throat. Most people with influenza have mild illness. However, certain people are at high risk for more serious illness including young children, people age 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions.
Influenza can be treated with antiviral medication. Antiviral treatment works best when started within two days of getting sick. However, starting treatment later can still be helpful, especially for people at high risk for serious influenza illness. Contact your doctor if you or your child are at high risk of serious illness and develop influenza symptoms.
Seek immediate medical care if your child is experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Difficulty or changes in breathing
- Bluish lips or face
- Chest pain
- Dehydration (no urine for 8 hours, dry mouth, no tears when crying)
- Not alert or interacting when awake
- Fever above 104F
- Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
- Worsening of chronic medical conditions
Maine CDC recommends following the "No Flu 4 You" guidelines, which include:
- Wash your hands: Both the public and health care providers should wash their hands frequently to prevent transmission of influenza.
- Cover your cough: Use tissues, or cough into your sleeve.
- Stay home when you're sick: Symptomatic individuals should remain home until 24 hours after fever resolves without the use of medications.
- Get vaccinated: It is not too late to get vaccinated. Maine CDC recommends vaccination for everyone ages 6 months and older, especially those at high risk of serious influenza complications. Influenza vaccine is provided at no cost by the State of Maine for all children under the age of 19 years.