Monday, May 3, 2010

Lessons Learned in Maine on Swine Flu (H1n1) Epidemic

"AUGUSTA - A year ago, we faced a newly identified influenza virus with unique genetic characteristics. The 2009 pandemic strain of H1N1 influenza was first detected in Texas, California and Mexico. Preliminary reports from Mexico indicated dozens of young people had died or were hospitalized with symptoms of the virus.

Mainers quickly dusted off pandemic flu plans, which were geared for a severe pandemic, and readied for this uncertain threat. Within days, several cases were identified in Maine and one school was closed.

Over the year, thousands of Mainers became ill with symptoms of H1N1; 40 summer residential camps experienced outbreaks; about 200 schools experienced outbreaks with high absentee rates; almost 250 Mainers were hospitalized with the infection, the majority of them being children and young adults; and tragically, 21 adults died from the infection.

Although the impact of this primarily pediatric and young adult pandemic was severe for a number of people, Maine was extremely fortunate to have experienced one of the mildest disease surges and to lead the nation in its vaccine efforts in all age categories."
Read the rest of the article in "Mainers can learn lots of lessons from experience with H1N1 epidemic", by Dr. Dora Anne Mills, The Portland Press Herald, May 1, 2010.  Dr. Dora Anne Mills is the state health officer and director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Click here to learn more about Swine Flu in Maine.

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