MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2018

Maine reports first case of seasonal influenza

Public health officials in Maine have announced the state's first case of seasonal influenza as they continue to monitor a novel strain associated with pigs that sickened two children in October.
The confirmed case, in an adult from Lincoln County, was reported on Friday. Strains of the flu are now circulating nationally as part of a cycle that lasts six to eight weeks, Bangor Daily News reports.
“This is a pretty good travel season, and people are going to be going away and contracting it and bringing it back to Maine,” Stephen Sears, the state's epidemiologist, said, according to Bangor Daily News.
Between returning vacationers and students heading back to school, the environment is ripe for spreading the flu. The patient in Lincoln County had not traveled recently and did not require hospitalization.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone older than six months be vaccinated against the flu.
Health officials are also examining a new strain of flu associated with pigs that sickened two children in Cumberland County in October. Maine is one of five states to report cases of the unusual strain, called influenza A H3N2. Both Maine children had come into contact with animals, though an investigation failed to pinpoint the source of the virus. The typical seasonal flu, which usually sickens from five to 20 percent of the population, is thought to pose more of a public health risk than the new strain of swine flu.