Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Weekly Update on H1N1 in Maine 08/26/09


This blog was originally posted in 2009. Information contained in this blog is outdated. For current information about flu, please see

Tracking Updates
On Friday, Aug. 21, US CDC reported 7,983 hospitalizations and 522 deaths nationwide from H1N1. As of Aug. 13, the World Health Organization reported 1,799 deaths from H1N1.

Maine has identified 360 cases of H1N1, which include 19 individuals requiring hospitalization and one individual who has died. Of Maine residents with H1N1, 60 percent have been under 25 years of age. The number of cases is only a barometer of community transmission, not of actual case counts, because not all people with infection are tested.

Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs
Prevention of H1N1 is most important, especially now that the virus is widespread in many parts of Maine. Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve, washing hands frequently, and staying home if ill with a fever are shared responsibilities of everyone in Maine, especially to protect people who are at higher risk for complications from H1N1 (

H1N1 Preparedness Summit

Maine CDC/DHHS, Maine Emergency Management Agency, Maine Department of Education, and Maine EMS co-sponsored an H1N1 Preparedness Summit Aug. 20 at the Augusta Civic Center. With more than 1,400 in attendance, we believe this was the largest public health conference in Maine. Several presentations and handouts from the Summit are posted online, with additional materials coming soon. To access these materials, visit:

Boston held an H1N1 Preparedness Summit on Aug. 21. Their materials can be found at:

Seasonal Flu Vaccine:
US CDC recommends that all children ages 6 months to 18 years, as well as others in high-risk groups for seasonal flu, be vaccinated against this year. Vaccination for seasonal flu should begin in September, or as soon as seasonal flu vaccine is available, and continue through the flu season. (

The seasonal flu vaccine is not expected to specifically protect against H1N1. However, with H1N1 and seasonal flu viruses both expected to be circulating, getting a seasonal flu vaccine early will help a person’s overall protection against the flu. Maine CDC expects H1N1 vaccine to arrive in the state in mid-October at the earliest.

H1N1 Vaccine:The H1N1 vaccine is not intended to replace the seasonal flu vaccine – it is intended to be used in addition to seasonal flu vaccine to protect people. At this point in time, there is no evidence that vaccinations will be mandatory. US CDC issued its recommendations regarding the use of H1N1 vaccine (, which reiterates the groups that should be considered the highest priority to be offered the first available doses of vaccine. They are:
Pregnant women, because they are at higher risk of complications – especially in the second and third trimesters – and can potentially provide protection to infants who cannot be vaccinated;
Household members and caregivers for children under 6 months old, because younger infants are at higher risk of complications and cannot be vaccinated;
Health care and emergency medical services personnel, because infections among health care workers have been reported and this can be a potential source of infection for patients;
All people ages 6 months through 24 years of age:
Children ages 6 months to 18 years, because there have been many cases of H1N1 in children and they are in close contact with each other in school and day care settings, which increases the chances of spreading disease;
Young adults ages 19 through 24, because there have been many cases of H1N1 in healthy young adults, and they often live, work, and study in close proximity, and they are a frequently mobile population;
People ages 25 through 64 who have health conditions associated with a higher risk of medical complications from the flu, including those with asthma, COPD, diabetes, chronic cardiovascular disease, and people with compromised immune systems.

Vaccine Coordinators have been appointed for each Public Health District in Maine. Vaccine Coordinators will be one component of district leadership teams, which also include staff from the three Regional Resource Centers for Public Health Emergency Preparedness, and Emergency Management Agencies. These Vaccine Coordinators will be following up on discussions had at the Summit to plan for local vaccine distribution, and ensuring that people in the groups prioritized by US CDC (see below) are offered vaccine.

These Vaccine Coordinators are:

District 1 – York: Sharon Leahy-Lind, 490-4625

District 2 – Cumberland: Meredith Tipton (Interim), 592-5631

District 3 – Western Maine: MaryAnn Amrich, 753-9103
(Franklin, Oxford, and Androscoggin counties)

District 4 – Mid Coast: Jen Gunderman-King, 596-4278
(Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, and Sagadahoc counties)

District 5 – Central Maine: Sue Lee, 592-5634
(Somerset and Kennebec counties)

District 6 – Penquis: Debra Roy (Interim), 592-5633
(Penobscot and Piscataquis counties)

District 7 – Downeast: Mary Jude (Interim), 287-5182
(Washington and Hancock counties)

District 8 – Aroostook: Sharon Ramey (Interim), 592-5632

Tribal Vaccine Coordinator: Jerolyn Ireland, 532-2240, Ext. 15

Many resources for vaccination clinics have been posted on our Summit web site ( under the morning breakout for Organizers of Large-Scale Vaccine Clinics.

Guidance for Educators and Educational Settings

Continuity of Learning:Recommendations for the continuity of learning during school dismissals were issued by the Department of Education in collaboration with US CDC. These recommendations can be found at:

Institutions of Higher Education:
US CDC issued new guidance ( that recommends actions that Institutions of Higher Education during the 2009-2010 academic year to decrease the spread of flu. The guidance includes additional strategies to use if flu conditions become more severe. The guidance in this document may change as additional information about the severity of the flu season and the impact of H1N1 become known. Detailed information on the reasons for these strategies and suggestions on how to use them is included in this report:

A communications tool kit, including fact sheets, Q&As, sample letters, and posters is available at:

All Residential Schools:
Updated guidance for Maine Residential Schools was issued Aug. 24 and can be found at:

Information and resources for Maine educators and school administrators is posted at:

Other New or Recently Updated H1N1 Guidance or News

The World Health Organization issued guidance for medical providers regarding the prescribing of anti-virals to treat H1N1:

How to Stay Updated

Weekly Updates: Check the Wednesday late afternoon updates on H1N1 in Maine on Maine CDC’s H1N1 website:

Health Alert Network: Sign up to receive urgent updates from Maine CDC’s Health Alert Network (HAN). The easiest and quickest way is to sign up is through the HAN Alert RSS feed at (midway down the center of the homepage).

Follow Maine CDC’s Updates:
Facebook (search for “Maine CDC”)
Twitter (
MySpace (
Maine CDC’s Blog (

H1N1 Conference Calls: Maine CDC will be holding conference calls on a variety of topics related to H1N1 over the coming weeks. Conference calls will resume after Labor Day. Check Wednesday Weekly Updates for schedule of topics and call-in information.

Consider Calling or Emailing Us:
For clinical consultation, outbreak management guidance, and reporting of an outbreak of H1N1 call Maine CDC’s toll free 24-hour phone line at: 1-800-821-5821.
General Public Call-in Number for Questions: 1-888-257-0990NextTalk (deaf/hard of hearing) - (207) 629-5751Monday - Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Email your questions to:

U.S. CDC H1N1 Recommendations and Guidance: and

Maine CDC H1N1 Website and Related Links: