The number of flu cases in Maine receded again this week – for the fourth week in a row – and the prevalence of the seasonal flu virus is now considered “low” throughout the state.

Maine reported 443 new cases of influenza for the week ending Jan. 13, a 55% decrease from the previous week, according to a report released Tuesday by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. For the week ending Jan. 6, Maine had 982 new cases.

There were only 13 new hospitalizations for influenza, compared to 67 the previous week.

While flu season runs from October to April, it peaked in late December, earlier than in many previous years, before falling. The predominant strain is influenza A, for which the current flu vaccine is a good match, experts say.

To manufacture enough doses to get shots in arms before flu season ramps up, scientists must try to predict months in advance what the prevailing strains will be, and tailor the vaccine to them. But it is an inexact process, and sometimes the vaccine does not match well with the predominant strain.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 127 on Tuesday, similar to the number seen over the past several weeks. While the virus continues to circulate in Maine, COVID-19 hospitalizations have so far not spiked the way they did in the previous two winters. Public health experts have said a wall of immunity – from vaccinations, prior infections or both – has kept COVID cases and hospitalizations down.

A third respiratory virus called RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, has declined in recent weeks, although there is not a dedicated data system that tracks RSV cases. The disease typically is most severe in infants.

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