PORTLAND, Maine — A state health official says she is “cautiously optimistic” that the flu season has peaked in Maine but warned that the disease is still widespread.

On Wednesday, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were 831 new flu cases for the week ending Feb. 10. That’s down from 876 cases the previous week.

Epidemiologist Sara Robinson tells the Portland Press Herald it is too soon to say for sure that cases will continue to decline. She urged people to take precautions and stay home if they are sick.

This year’s predominant strain of flu is particularly virulent, resulting in an increase in deaths and hospitalizations nationwide. There have been 43 flu-related deaths so far this season in Maine. Last season, there were 71.

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