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Influenza now widespread across Maine

Flu cases increase again in Knox County

By Stephen Betts | Jan 07, 2020

The number of people getting the flu increased for the fifth consecutive week in Knox County.

And the state announced Wednesday, Jan. 8, that influenza was now considered "widespread" across the state.

There were 20 new cases reported for the week ending Jan. 4, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

This is up from 18 cases the week before, 16 before that, seven the week before that, and four the prior week.

That increases the number of cases since Oct. 1 to 68 in Knox County, according to the CDC.

Last week one patient in Knox County was hospitalized, according to the CDC release issued Thursday, Jan. 2. This is the second confirmed hospitalization this season in Knox County because of the flu. However, one local woman died three weeks ago from complications of the flu along with other health issues, according to an obituary received by the newspaper.

The flu season last season peaked in mid-March when there were 26 new cases in Knox County in a single week.

Statewide last week, there were 351 new cases with Cumberland County reporting the most at 70. Lincoln County had seven new cases last week and Waldo County saw 13, a decline from 20 the previous week.

There have been no local outbreaks this season in nursing care facilities.

The state said in a Jan. 8 news release that influenza vaccination is recommended each year for anyone 6 months of age and older.

Vaccination can reduce a person's risk of contracting the illness, and subsequent doctors' visits, and missed work and school due to influenza. The influenza vaccine can also reduce the severity of the illness, should a vaccinated person contract influenza. Studies show the influenza vaccine saves children's lives, prevents serious events associated with chronic lung disease, diabetes, and heart disease, and prevents influenza-related hospitalization among working-age and older adults.

The CDC also continues to recommend people wash their hands frequently, cover their coughs, and stay home if they are sick as ways to prevent the spread of the flu.

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