Maine CDC in Augusta. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

An investigation into a potential illness outbreak has been opened at the Middle School of the Kennebunks due to a high number of absent students.

The school is reporting that between 16 and 18 percent of students have called out sick in recent days, according to RSU 21 Superintendent Terri Cooper. Those illnesses include Influenza A, COVID-19 and other respiratory complaints.  

As of Tuesday, the middle school reported that there were four confirmed cases of Influenza A and two confirmed cases of COVID-19 among its students and staff.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention opens an investigation if more than 15 percent of students and/or staff are reported absent, according to Maine Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Jackie Farwell.

Earlier on Tuesday, outbreaks were reported at the Troy Howard Middle School and Capt. Albert Stevens Elementary School in Belfast. The schools were reporting high numbers of RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), Influenza A, hand, foot and mouth disease, strep throat, and COVID-19 cases.

The increase in illnesses across Maine school districts is reflective of the overall trend in Maine. More than 1,700 cases of influenza were reported in Maine for the week ending Friday, Dec. 3, according to   Maine CDC data. Of those cases, 199 were in York County, up from 85 cases on Nov. 26 and 42 on Nov. 19.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.