Maine CDC/DHHS Public Health Update
January 28, 2010
Keep ME Well
Governor Baldacci, in his State of the State Speech and in a January 27th press conference, launched the Keep ME Well initiative. This novel tool helps people to assess their health risks, to obtain a report that helps them take action and find local resources and support in their own communities, and to find low-cost health care services. This will be a very useful web site for health care providers and their patients. Check it out at http://bit.ly/bJRAHK
2010 District Health Indicator Tables are posted!
In 2008, Maine CDC published tables comparing major health indicators for each of the 8 public health districts, Maine, and the U.S. These tables have just been updated and include additional indicators such as some on preventable hospitalizations by district and cost data associated with them. District data that are significantly different than the state data are yellow highlighted. Both the 2008 and 2010 tables along with the data resources used can be found under “Health Indicator Comparison Tables” on the upper left hand side of our homepage (http://bit.ly/ciXQkx) or directly at http://bit.ly/9d2FJj. We hope you find these tables useful.
Group A Strep
Maine CDC issued a health advisory last week to health care providers on an increase in the number and severity of invasive Group A Streptococcal (GAS) infections seen in January in Maine. Since then, additional cases have been identified, bringing the total thus far this month to ten, with an age range of 15 – 90 years-old. Four of these have resulted in Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome (STSS), of which three have died. Although GAS is a common bacteria in the throat and skin, often causing strep throat or impetigo, invasive GAS disease is rare, with the five-year median in Maine being 19 cases per year. More information, including recommendations, can be found in last week’s health advisory at: http://bit.ly/bswpU2 or visit this US CDC web site: http://bit.ly/cP0vIl.
Earthquakes and Public Health
There are many public health concerns as a result from earthquakes, including those related to victims of the disaster and those related to people traveling to post earthquake zones such as Haiti to assist in recovery efforts. The US CDC’s earthquake website has helpful information for those who may be involved with the Haiti relief efforts or who are interested in improving their preparations here at home.
Influenza Activity in Maine and the US
There were no new confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza reported in Maine last week. However, 10 people in Maine have been hospitalized due to H1N1 since the beginning of this month, including four children. Of those hospitalized, three required admission to an intensive care unit, including one child and one young adult. Only one of those hospitalized was fully vaccinated and only two had received early antiviral medicines, despite risk factors for severe disease. These hospitalizations are reminders of the importance of health care providers offering H1N1 flu vaccine to every patient at every encounter. Vaccination against influenza and early detection with prompt treatment are still very important, especially for those at risk for complications. We expect to see the pandemic form of H1N1 to circulate for months to come. We have not yet detected any seasonal influenza virus in samples submitted for testing this winter, and there have been no outbreaks of seasonal flu reported in other parts of the country. Vaccine can still be found in a number of public clinics, including many that are offering it for free. These can be located by calling 211 or by visiting http://bit.ly/5xdkVe. The free clinics are in bold font.
H1N1 Vaccine Supply
There is now plenty of H1N1 vaccine in Maine, with over 900,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine available statewide since October to about 500 health care providers. The Maine CDC is able to process orders with about a 4-day business day turnaround between order and receipt of vaccine. More than half of the doses of vaccine distributed have not been reported as administered. Vaccine administrators are required to report doses administered weekly. The weekly vaccine reporting form can be found at: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/boh/maineflu/h1n1/health-care-providers.shtml. Detailed instructions are also available at: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/boh/maineflu/h1n1/H1N1-Weekly-Reporting-Form-instructions.pdf.
Messages to the Public
• Many people are still susceptible to this virus and would benefit from vaccination. Being vaccinated not only protects you, but it helps protect the people around you who are more likely to suffer serious complications from the flu.
• To find a vaccine, call your health care provider, or get the list of public vaccine clinics by calling 211 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or visiting www.maineflu.gov (all clinics posted in bold are free).
• If you think you have the flu, cannot reach your doctor, and/or your health plan does not have a nurse call line available, you may call 2-1-1 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to be connected with a health professional who can assess your symptoms.
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View the full update here: http://bit.ly/cZKqbK