Saturday, December 31, 2011

Quit Smoking in 2012

As the New Year begins, resolve to make 2012 the year that you quitsmoking. The New Year is a symbol of renewal and can be a time to prepare for new beginnings. It is a time to set goals and make them public so that you can get support and encouragement from friends and family. Many smokers use the New Year's holiday as motivation to quit. For some, this is the first time they've tried to quit; for others, they may have tried before. Regardless, this may be the most important resolution a smoker ever makes.

Local help is available to help you quit for good this year through or by calling 1-800-207-1230.

Other online cessation services and resources are also available:
  • provides free, accurate, evidence-based information and professional assistance to help support the immediate and long-term needs of people trying to quit smoking.
  • provides free, accurate, evidence-based information and professional assistance to help support the immediate and long-term needs of women trying to quit smoking.
  • is a U.S. Department of Defense-sponsored Web site for military personnel and their families.

The National Cancer Institute has launched SmokefreeTXT, a free text message cessation service that provides 24/7 encouragement, advice, and tips to teens trying to quit smoking. For more information:

Once they sign up, teens receive text messages timed according to their selected quit date. Following their quit date, they will continue receiving texts for up to six weeks — a critical piece of the SmokefreeTXT service, as research shows that cessation support continues to be important beyond the first few weeks of quitting. Teens can sign up online at or text QUIT to iQUIT (47848).

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Influenza Update 12/29/11

The first laboratory-confirmed case of seasonal flu was reported to Maine CDC on December 23.  Influenza A (2009 H1N1), influenza A (H3), and influenza B are all circulating nationally. For more information, see the Health Alert issued Dec. 27.  
Maine CDC reminds everyone to take everyday preventive measures against the flu:

Weekly updates on flu activity are available online:

Influenza A(H3N2)v

Maine CDC investigated two cases of influenza A(H3N2)v in October. For more information about this investigation, see the Health Alert issued Oct. 19

For current guidance and information from US CDC:
  • Interim guidance for influenza surveillance:
  • Interim guidance on case definitions to be used for investigations of influenza A(H3N2)v virus cases:
  • Interim guidance on specimen collection, processing, and testing for patients with suspect influenza A(H3N2)v virus infection:
  • Prevention strategies for seasonal and influenza A(H3N2) in health care settings:


Maine CDC recommends that Health Care Providers continue vaccinating to protect against influenza this year according to the following guidelines:

Health Care Providers should use state-supplied vaccine for patients in the following circumstances:
  • The patient is a child ages 6 months through 18 years;
  • The patient is pregnant or the partner of a pregnant patient;
  • The patient’s insurance does not cover vaccinations;
  • The patient is uninsured.

Health Care Providers may use state-supplied vaccine for other patients only if:
  • The Health Care Provider has already vaccinated all eligible patients listed above and has excess state-supplied vaccine; and
  • Privately purchased vaccine is not available.

Providers may not charge for state-supplied vaccine. It is reasonable and allowable to charge an administration fee in some circumstances, provided that:
  1. MaineCare-eligible children are not charged an out of pocket administration fee;
  2. administration fees do not exceed the regional Medicare maximum ($14.37/vaccine administration); and 
  3. no one is denied vaccine because of their inability to pay an administration fee.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Salmonella update

 The US Department of Agriculture'sFood Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), working with US CDC and its state health partners, determined that there is a link between recalled Hannaford ground beef products and an outbreak of salmonellosis in several northeastern states. Four cases were identified in Maine. FSIS is continuing to work with US CDC, public health partners in the affected states, and the company on the investigation.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, and persons with HIV infection or those undergoing chemotherapy. The most common manifestations of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.

This outbreak strain of Salmonella is resistant to many commonly prescribed antibiotics and its resistance can increase the risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals.

To prevent foodborne illness, take the following precautions:
  • Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Also wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water. Clean up spills right away.
  • Keep raw meat, fish and poultry away from other food that will not be cooked. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and egg products and cooked foods.
  • Cook raw meat and poultry to safe internal temperatures before eating. The safe internal temperature for meat such as beef and pork is 160° F, and 165° F for poultry, as determined with a food thermometer.
  • Refrigerate raw meat and poultry within two hours after purchase (one hour if temperatures exceed 90° F). Refrigerate cooked meat and poultry within two hours after cooking.

For more information: 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Influenza Update 12/1/11

National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) will be held December 4-10. It is not too late to be vaccinated. As long a flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination should continue and can provide protection against the flu. Even unvaccinated people who have already gotten the flu can still benefit from vaccination, since the flu vaccine protects against three different flu viruses and more than one flu virus circulates each season.  Last season, all three influenza viruses in the vaccine circulated widely in the US.

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. You can search for flu clinics by county at or by zipcode at

Maine CDC reminds everyone to take everyday preventive measures against influenza by washing hands, covering coughs, and staying home when sick. No flu activity was reported in Maine for the week ending Nov. 26. Weekly updates on flu activity are available online:

Maine CDC has already distributed more than 197,000 doses of state-supplied influenza vaccine to registered providers for the 2011-2012 season.

More than 100 school districts are offering school-located flu vaccine clinics (SLVC) again this year. More than 330 clinics are registered. A list of participating schools is posted at