Several key jobs at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention have been vacant for months, drawing criticism from some who say the state is unprepared for an infectious disease outbreak.
The agency last week announced possible hepatitis A exposure at a Cumberland County restaurant, but prepared its response without its top hepatitis coordinator and two leading epidemiologists.
And while the department grapples with the approaching flu season, 14 of its roughly 50 public health nurse positions also remain vacant.
MaryAnne Turowski, legislative and politics director for the Maine State Employees Association, tells the Portland Press Herald that Maine's "public health infrastructure is woefully inadequate."
Maine CDC spokesman John Martins says although the top infectious disease positions are unfilled, the state has many experts in place to make decisions.