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:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or shoulder
- Stay home when you feel sick
- Get vaccinated – you can search for flu clinics by county at http://www.211maine.org/flu-clinics/ or by zipcode at http://www.flu.gov/
Weekly updates on flu activity are available online:
- for Maine: http://go.usa.gov/NoK
- for the US: http://go.usa.gov/ITB
- for the world: http://go.usa.gov/ITK
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: http://go.usa.gov/Non
- Interim guidance on case definitions to be used for investigations of influenza A(H3N2)v virus cases: http://go.usa.gov/NoU
- Interim guidance on specimen collection, processing, and testing for patients with suspect influenza A(H3N2)v virus infection: http://go.usa.gov/NoP
- Prevention strategies for seasonal and influenza A(H3N2) in health care settings: http://go.usa.gov/NoE
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:
- MaineCare-eligible children are not charged an out of pocket administration fee;
- administration fees do not exceed the regional Medicare maximum ($14.37/vaccine administration); and
- no one is denied vaccine because of their inability to pay an administration fee.