Maine is reporting its first influenza-related child death in more than two years.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced the first pediatric death of the 2021-22 flu season on Tuesday, saying the child tested positive for influenza A. Prior to this case, the last influenza-associated pediatric death in Maine occurred in February 2020.

The Maine CDC did not provide the child’s age or when the child died. Influenza-associated deaths of individuals younger than 18 years old must be reported in Maine.

Influenza continues to circulate at elevated levels in Maine, the CDC said. The flu typically peaks in February, when people are most often indoors and the virus can spread easily. It tends to dissipate in the spring, when the weather warms and people head outdoors, where the illness is not so easily spread.

But Dr. Nirav D. Shah, director of the Maine CDC, issued warnings in mid-May that there had been nine outbreaks of flu-like illnesses in the state – the highest number in a single week since February 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“Influenza activity is on the rise. Though typically low this time of year, Maine has been experiencing an increase. Most indicators are higher than any other time since the start of the pandemic,” Shah tweeted.


There have been nine influenza-related deaths in Maine and seven people have been hospitalized with the flu this season, according to the influenza surveillance report the state released Tuesday for the period ending May 28.

The Maine CDC said that although the flu season has officially ended, it will continue to provide weekly surveillance reports until flu activity has subsided.

Influenza can cause a fever, a cough or a sore throat. Affected individuals also may experience a runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Most people experience mild symptoms, but certain age groups, including young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions are at risk for more serious illness.

The Maine CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months gets a yearly flu vaccine. Influenza vaccine is provided at no cost by the state of Maine for all children under 19.

Flu can be treated with antiviral medication.

Washing hands frequently, covering your cough, getting vaccinated and staying home when sick are all ways to prevent getting infected or spreading flu.

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