A box of flu shots are prepared in the morning at a drive-thru flu clinic at Bristol Motor Speedway, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Bristol, Tenn. Credit: David Crigger / Bristol Herald Courier via AP

The influenza season is getting off to a slow start in Maine with hundreds of infections but no confirmed deaths, officials say.

There have been 505 positive influenza cases reported this season by Maine-based labs, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

There have been no flu deaths, but there is sometimes a lag in reporting, the Portland Press Herald reported.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which monitors influenza transmission, is reporting that activity is still low, but that a pattern of steady increases is beginning to emerge.

Dr. Dora Anne Mills, MaineHealth’s chief health improvement officer, said Tuesday that the good news is that a vaccine is readily available and that it’s a good match for the flu strains that are circulating.

The flu was largely absent last year, thanks to masks and improved hygiene during the pandemic. There had been just 136 total cases reported and only three hospitalizations through late March last year.