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Maine CDC reports decrease in flu cases this season compared to last

They say the 2020-2021 flu season has seen 48 positive reports.
Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 6:00 PM EST
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Maine (WABI) - The Maine CDC is seeing a decrease in flu cases this season compared to last.

Flu season in the United States typically runs from late September to early May.

According to the Maine CDC by this time last season Maine’s positive flu reports were sitting at around 350.

So far this season the Maine CDC is reporting just 48.

“We use additional data to analyze the amount of influenza that is circulating in our state and these data also show lower amounts of influenza this season compared to last season,” said Maine CDC influenza surveillance coordinator Anna Krueger.

Krueger says it is likely that COVID-19 precautions like masks and social distancing are contributing to the decrease in flu cases.

Unlike the coronavirus, influenza labs are not required to be reported to the state.

They use more than positive test results to monitor trends.

“Those numbers are from people who have voluntarily reported them. We look at additional things like outbreaks, and amount of people who go to a doctor who have influenza-like illness as opposed to just the lab reports,” said Krueger.

Krueger says while symptoms of both infections can be similar, there are a few differences.

“Unlike COVID-19 almost everybody with influenza will experience a fever and a cough or a sore throat. Symptoms that are less likely for you to experience if you have influenza is diarrhea, though that is a relatively common symptom with COVID-19,” said Krueger.

Krueger says two larger labs in Maine have shown almost exactly the same amount of flu tests have been administered compared to last season.

They won’t have estimated data on flu vaccines until the season is over.

“Flu vaccine is the best way to prevent influenza, it’s not too late to get vaccinated and stay at home if you are sick,” said Krueger.

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