Monday, August 31, 2015


Although most influenza activity occurs from October to May in the U.S., flu viruses are detected year round.  Providers in Maine have reported positive rapid influenza and serology tests in the last month.  Summer and early fall are also the prime time for agricultural fairs, which provides an increased risk for flu associated with swine contact. 
Maine CDC requests that all rapid positive influenza samples during the summer months be forwarded to Maine’s Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory (HETL) for confirmation and typing.  This will allow us to monitor the circulating strains, and identify any variants if present.
If a provider sees a patient with flu-like symptoms who has swine or bird exposures; samples should be sent to HETL for testing.  Rapid tests may not pick up variant strains, and only the state lab is capable of determining if a strain is a variant.
Reporting requirements
  • Suspected novel or variant cases should be reported immediately by phone to 800-821-5821.
  • Outbreaks and pediatric deaths are required to be reported
  • We appreciate all positive lab tests, reported by fax (207-287-6865 or 800-293-7534) or by phone (800-821-5821) but this is not required
Additional Information

Friday, August 28, 2015

Child immunization rates

A recent U.S. CDC report shows that Maine’s vaccination rates for 19-35-month-olds are the best in the nation. 

These results are a cause for celebration and reflect an effective partnership that has been built across the state to address this important health issue. Our success can be attributed to the hard work of clinicians, partners, educators and funders who have collectively made the vaccination of Maine’s children a public health priority.

Maine CDC is proud of this accomplishment and looks forward to working with our partners to build upon this success in the coming year.

Additional information is available in these PowerPoint slides.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

PHEP supports State Police search

Delorme InReach In its role of managing various vaccines and antidotes in the event of a public health emergency, Maine CDC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program identified the need to keep drivers of these types of supplies safe and secure.
Delorme InReach was ultimately chosen to meet this goal, as it allows for real-time GPS tracking. The technology also features text-based communication from the device to a web-interface that can be monitored at a central location.
Recently, this technology was used by the Maine State Police in their manhunt for suspect Robert Burton in Piscataquis County, which ended after 68 days on August 11.  The State Police appreciated the use of these units:
“What the units have enabled us to do is to track personnel in real time as we deploy tactical assets in the field.  By equipping each team with a device, we are able to visually demonstrate to the planners and managers of the incident where each team is tracking.  Not only is that demonstration valuable for progress display, it also allows for the ongoing consideration of reactionary forces should the team encounter a threat.
“The devices have also afforded us a communication alternative in an environment where radio communication is poor.  By utilizing the satellite capabilities to communicate, we are more assured that we are able to relay relevant information to the field as well receive urgent data from any team.”
This real-life application of the technology also served as on-the-job training for the State Police who were active in this search. They are now ready to assist in any public health emergency without additional training.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

DHHS appoints Pezzullo Chief Health Officer

Dr. Christopher PezulloChristopher Pezzullo, D.O., has accepted the position of Chief Health Officer of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.  Dr. Pezzullo has been serving in this role in an acting capacity since March.
The Chief Health Officer’s (CHO) role is to develop and coordinate an integrated, results-oriented approach throughout DHHS to address significant health issues that span many of the programs within the Department  The CHO will work to implement innovative public health strategies that partner community health promotion efforts with health care clinicians and leaders as well as to construct a more integrated, effective health system through collaboration between clinical care and public health.  All of these efforts are designed to provide strong clinical leadership within the Department to positively improve the health of Maine people.
“I have been impressed with Dr. Pezzullo’s knowledge of and commitment to the public health issues that are impacting Mainers,” wrote DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew when announcing the appointment. “His experiences in clinical practice will be helpful as we focus on critical issues like drug-affected babies, fragmented care delivery, chronic disease management, eldercare and effective primary care screenings for tobacco, alcohol and drug use.”
Dr. Pezzullo has been practicing medicine for nearly 20 years in Maine as a pediatrician.  He’s a graduate of the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine and has been recognized as a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics and the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners.  Dr. Pezzullo previously served as the Medical Director of the Division of Population Health at Maine CDC, beginning in 2012.  Prior to joining State government, he was the Chief Medical Officer for University Health Care from 2008 to 2012. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program anniversary

On August 18, 1990, the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act was signed into law, creating what is now the largest Federal program exclusively providing care and treatment services to people living with HIV – the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.
Twenty-five years later, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau commemorates this historic anniversary and honors the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, which has played a critical role in the United States’ public health response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.   The theme:  Moving Forward with CARE: Building on 25 Years of Passion, Purpose, and Excellence”  reflects the passion that inspired the legislation, purpose that continues to drive the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and excellence in health outcomes for people living with HIV receiving Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program-funded care.  

HRSA has also produced a new video to highlight the work of the program: