Maine CDC/DHHS Public Health Update
January 21, 2010
Flu Activity in Maine and the US
We continue to see H1N1 circulate in Maine, though at declining levels from a month ago. This last week there were two new hospitalizations, one of whom required intensive care. Since the beginning of January, 10 Mainers have been hospitalized for H1N1, including four children. Of those hospitalized, three required admission to an intensive care unit, including one child and one young adult. We are finding an increasing number of hospitalized patients who have neither been vaccinated nor received early treatment with antiviral medicines. Vaccination against influenza and early detection of infection with prompt treatment are still important, especially for people at risk of complications. These cases are also a reminder that we expect to see the pandemic form of H1N1 influenza virus to continue to circulate for months to come, so it is important to keep H1N1 in the differential for people presenting with symptoms.
We have not yet detected any seasonal influenza virus in samples submitted for testing this winter, and there have been no reported outbreaks of seasonal influenza in other parts of the country as well.
H1N1 Vaccine Supply
There is now plenty of vaccine in Maine, with about 800,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine distributed statewide since October. Maine CDC is now processing orders for H1N1 vaccine the same day the request comes in from a health care provider, with about a four-day turnaround between order and receipt of vaccine.
About 500 health care providers in the state have received H1N1 vaccine. We strongly urge health care providers to offer the H1N1 flu vaccine to every patient at every encounter.
Public clinics can be located by calling 211 or visiting www.maineflu.gov. There are many clinics that are offering free vaccine, identified by the bold font on the website.
December 2009 National Survey of H1N1 and Seasonal Flu Vaccine Coverage
US CDC has released data from a national survey conducted through much of December on H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccine coverage. Maine stood out as having an H1N1 vaccine rate among children that is more than twice the national average – 60% versus 28%. Although we do not know our formal ranking, we know only 4 states had pediatric coverage rates of over 40%.
Maine also had higher rates of H1N1 vaccine in health care personnel working with high-risk patients (46% vs. 27% nationally) and of seasonal flu vaccine coverage among children (52% vs. 34% nationally).
Additional information on vaccine coverage can be found in this MMWR: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm59e0115a1.htm
Main 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.
To view the full update: http://bit.ly/5X7I9G