Thursday, December 13, 2012

Maine CDC Public Health Update 12/13/12

Pertussis (whooping cough)

Thirty cases of pertussis (whooping cough) have been reported in children younger than 1 year old in Maine so far this year. Maine CDC has issued new clinical guidance for providers treating infant pertussis. It is available on the Maine CDC website.
In total, more than 660 cases of pertussis have been reported in Maine this year, with the majority in children ages 7 to 19. Reported cases appear to be on a downward trend.
Weekly updates on pertussis in Maine are posted to on Thursdays.
DTaP vaccine is recommended for all infants and children. Tdap vaccine is recommended for all preteens, teens, and adults.
For more information, visit

Recent health alerts

  • Group A Strep: Maine CDC is investigating a cluster of invasive Group A Streptococcal (GAS) infections in patients who have reported a history of injecting bath salts. Four cases of invasive GAS have been reported among persons aged 23-37 years, two of which resulted in Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome (STSS). All cases reported injecting bath salts, all required hospitalization, one required intensive care, and one had necrotizing fasciitis. All four cases are from Aroostook and Penobscot counties. The health alert is at:

  • Gonorrhea: Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium. Gonococcal infection is reportable to Maine CDC within 48 hours of recognition or strong suspicion of disease. In men, common symptoms include burning sensation when urinating or a white, yellow or green penile discharge. In women, symptoms are uncommon, but may include painful or burning sensation when urinating or increased vaginal discharge. Gonorrhea is a major cause of serious reproductive complications in females. Case reports of gonorrhea in Maine have been increasing in recent years from 96 cases in 2008 to 272 cases in 2011. The health alert is available at:


Maine CDC reported regional flu activity for the week ending Dec. 8. Weekly updates are available online:
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 – find locations at

America's Health Rankings

Maine ranked ninth overall (up from tenth last year) in the recently released America’s Health Rankings by the United Health Foundation.

These rankings are used to stimulate action by individuals, elected officials, medical professionals, public health professionals, employers, educators and communities to improve the health of the population of the U.S.

For more information, visit

HIV and hepatitis screenings

Recently, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued draft recommendations pertaining to HIV and viral hepatitis screening and is inviting public comments on both.

The Task Force is an independent group of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services.

The draft recommendation for HIV screening applies to all people aged 15 to 65 and all pregnant women. Public comments can be submitted online until December 17.

Public comments on the draft recommendations for screening adults for hepatitis C virus infection can be submitted online until December 24.

For more information and to submit comments, go to