Influenza has officially arrived in Maine, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Multiple Maine facilities reported influenza positive lab results in the last week, including a confirmed case that tested positive for influenza A and was typed at Maine's Health and Environmental Testing Lab as influenza A/H3. This individual is an adult who was not hospitalized, was unvaccinated, and had recent travel history, the CDC said.
The 2019-2020 influenza season officially begins on September 29. Individuals should NOT wait to get vaccinated as influenza is already present in the state. Both Influenza A and B strains are currently circulating nationally. The 2019-2020 quadrivalent influenza vaccine contains components of both A strains (H1 and H3) as well as two B strains (Yamagata and Victoria). Quadrivalent vaccine is recommended for optimal protection, however if only trivalent vaccine is available the recommendation is not to wait and obtain the vaccine as soon as possible.
According to the federal CDC, the composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses (depending on the vaccine) that research suggests will be most common.
For 2019-2020, trivalent (three-component) vaccines are recommended to contain:
- A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
- A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus (updated)
- B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus
Quadrivalent (four-component) vaccines, which protect against a second lineage of B viruses, are recommended to contain:
- the three recommended viruses above, plus B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus.
FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) chooses the flu vaccine viruses for the United States. For 2019-2020 vaccines, they selected the H1N1 and B components on March 6, 2019.external icon Selection of the H3N2 component was delayed until March 22, 2019.
From the CDC:
Personal NPIs are everyday preventive actions, apart from pharmaceutical interventions such as getting vaccinated and taking medicine that can help keep yourself and others from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like the flu. They include:
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
- Washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available.
During a flu pandemic there are measures you can take in addition to these everyday preventive actions. They include:
- Staying home if you have been exposed to a family or household member who is sick.
- Covering your nose and mouth with a mask or cloth if you are sick and around people or at a mass gathering in a community where the pandemic is already occurring.
Public health professionals need the help of administrators for schools, workplaces, and community events to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like pandemic flu in their area. Educating and reminding people to take these everyday preventive actions consistently at home, at school, at work, and at a gathering is an important part of an organization’s or community’s strategy for minimizing the risks caused by flu and other respiratory illnesses.
The actions you take and plans you make today matter. To ensure the greatest impact, CDC recommends that communities and organizations incorporate a combination of personal, community, and environmental NPIs into their pandemic flu plans.
Why are personal NPIs important?
The flu virus is believed to spread mainly from person to person through droplets that come from the nose and mouth when a sick person coughs, sneezes, or talks. The flu virus may also spread when people touch something with flu virus on it, and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. Many other viruses that cause respiratory illnesses spread this way, too.
While getting an annual flu vaccination is the best way to prevent seasonal flu, personal NPIs are simple everyday preventive actions that people can take to help lower their risk of coming in contact with flu and other similar viruses. These everyday preventive actions serve as an extra layer of protection even after people are vaccinated.
In the event that a new flu virus emerges that can rapidly spread from person to person worldwide, causing a flu pandemic, a vaccine may not be immediately available. During a pandemic, personal NPIs become some of the most important ways that individuals can protect themselves and others from the flu.
Visit other parts of this website to learn about ways people can protect themselves and others from getting and spreading the flu at home, at school, at work, and at a gathering.