Number Of Maine Flu Deaths Rises To 21

Jan 19, 2018

Twenty-one Mainers have died so far this season from the flu. That's according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

But Maine CDC epidemiologist Sara Robinson says that number is likely a little low. She says while 21 people had the flu listed as the cause of death on their death certificates, many more people die from other causes, as a result of having it.

"A large proportion of people who die from complications of influenza die from the secondary complications, so they'll get bacterial pneumonia after they get the flu," Robinson says. "So the true burden of deaths due to influenza is much, much higher than the number who actually have influenza listed on their certificate."

All of the deaths were people older than 55.

The flu season lasts roughly from October through May - Robinson says while 21 isn't "a good number," it's not clear whether more people will die from the flu this season than did last season.

She says it's not too late to get the vaccine - which is effective. And she says if people feel flu symptoms, like a fever, cough, sore throat, and a feeling like they've been "hit by a bus," they should call their doctor.