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Two dozen Maine nursing homes report flu outbreaks, severe season predicted

St. John Valley Times - 1/13/2018

Maine's winter flu season is moving into high gear, jumping last week to the top-level "widespread" status and taking hold among nursing home residents, according to the weekly influenza report from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

That means flu has been positively identified in at least half the areas of the state, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting guidelines. As of the end of 2017, flu had been found in each of Maine's 16 counties.

Most affected to date may be residents of Maine nursing homes, with 10 facilities reporting new outbreaks last week for a total of 24 outbreaks so far in long-term care facilities. The Maine disease control center does not identify specific facilities, but eight are located in Penobscot County, according to the report.

"We know it hits the elderly the hardest," State Epidemiologist Siiri Bennett said.

Especially in group settings such as nursing homes, she said, flu finds an easy path of transmission.

 
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