Maine Tracking Program

Website: https://data.mainepublichealth.gov/tracking/External
Email: metracking@maine.gov

Mission:

The Maine (ME) Tracking Program provides web-based data and measures to improve public health in Maine.

Quick Stats:

  • Maine has the 7th oldest housing stock in the nation with 36% of homes built before 1950. Almost all (90%) of childhood lead poisoning cases in Maine occur in homes built before 1950.
  • More than half of Maine homes rely on private wells for drinking water.
    • Only 48% of homes with private wells have tested the water for arsenic.
    • 10% of private wells that were tested for arsenic had results above the health guideline (10 ppb).
  • The number of new cases of tickborne diseases in Maine has increased dramatically over the past two decades.
    • Lyme disease is one of the most reported infectious diseases in Maine. In 2017, the incidence rate of Lyme disease was 138 per 100,000 people.
    • The incidence rate of anaplasmosisExternal rose from 1.3 to 49.8 per 100,000 from 2010 to 2017.
    • The incidence rate of babesiosisExternal increased from 0.4 to 8.9 per 100,000 from 2010 to 2017.
Lighthouse on a Maine cliff

Unique Data:

In addition to the set of standard data collected and displayed by all state and local tracking programs, individual programs may host data that are important to their populations.

  • The ME Tracking Program hosts data on over 100 state-specific measures across 13 public health topic areas. Five of the public health topic areas (asthma, COPD, childhood lead poisoning, private well water, and tickborne diseases) include town-level data and measures for Maine’s 500+ towns.

Accomplishments:

  • Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention: In Maine, ingesting dust from lead paint is the most common way children are poisoned by lead. The Maine Tracking Program launched a new mapping toolExternal in 2018 to enhance users’ abilities to visualize and explore lead poisoning, screening, and risk factor data. Community partners can use these data to help identify and monitor high-risk areas for childhood lead poisoning and target and evaluate community-based prevention initiatives.
  • Drinking Water from Private Wells: More than half of all Maine homes rely on private wells for drinking water. Many wells have levels of arsenic, uranium, or other chemicals that can cause serious health effects such as cancer or low birth weight. These contaminants can only be detected through laboratory testing. Private well owners are responsible for testing their own water and correcting any problems. Maine’s Tracking siteExternal displays data on town-level measures for six potentially hazardous substances, testing behavior, and well-water reliance by housing status.While everyone who gets drinking water from a private well should regularly test the water, these data highlight areas where residents may be at higher risk for exposure to harmful chemicals. Community organizations use tracking data to identify where they will target safety interventions to educate residents about well water safety and increase rates of testing.
  • Tickborne Diseases: All Maine residents and visitors are potentially at risk for diseases such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis from the bite of infected deer ticks. To meet the need for up-to-date information about tickborne diseases, the ME Tracking Program collaborated with colleagues who track these diseases to include data for all three of these tick-borne diseases on the Maine Tracking Program site. Users are able to view incidence rates for all three tickborne diseases, prevalence rates of Lyme disease, and maps showing where deer ticks have been found. The Maine Tracking Program also launched a near real-time data dashboard in September 2018 that provides daily tickborne disease case counts and weekly tick0related emergency department visit numbers. Tickborne disease data are the most frequently visited topic within Maine’s Tracking site, confirming the value of this information.
Page last reviewed: December 7, 2018