Influenza continues to spread in Maine with 401 new cases reported through Jan. 11.

Maine now has confirmed 1,700 influenza cases since flu season began in October. Eight people have died this season – which will end in May – and 133 have been hospitalized, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. York County had the highest number of positive flu tests at 461, with Cumberland County second at 253. The actual number is likely much higher because many people recover at home and are not tested.

There were 10,313 confirmed cases of  influenza in the 2018-19 flu season in Maine.

The most common strain so far this season is influenza A H1NI, accounting for about 60 percent of cases, followed by influenza B (Victoria) strain at roughly 35 percent. Nationally, more than half of positive tests have been for influenza B (Victoria). Vaccine effectiveness has not yet been determined, but there are some indications it is not a great match for the influenza B (Victoria), according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nevertheless, the flu shot is the best protection against influenza, and research has shown that patients who are vaccinated and still contract the flu showmilder symptoms. For more information on flu prevention and treatment, go to www.maineflu.gov.

The U.S. CDC is estimating that 10-14 million Americans have contracted the flu this season, with roughly 100,000 hospitalizations and 10,000 deaths.

 


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