Six Flu-Related Deaths Across West Michigan, Cases On Rise

Posted at 9:38 PM, Jan 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-17 05:05:19-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. —Six people have died from flu-related illnesses so far this season, according to health departments FOX 17 contacted across West Michigan Thursday.

Three people died recently in Kent County after contracting H1N1 influenza A, said the Kent County Health Department.

All the deaths were people over age 50, though several deaths were earlier reported in eastern Michigan of healthy young adults, the department’s statement said. At least 26 people in Kent County have been hospitalized out of more than 400 reported flu cases.

Two of the cases that resulted in death involved previous “underlying medical conditions,” said Adam London, the department’s administrative health officer.

In Van Buren County there has been one confirmed flu-related death, but officials couldn’t expand on the specifics surrounding that case. In Kalamazoo County, there have been two confirmed flu-related deaths of people over the age of 50.

On the east side of the state in Oakland County, there have been three flu related deaths of people all in their twenties.

Doctors say it’s not too late to get the vaccine, and are still urging people to get vaccinated.

They also say the numbers they’re seeing right now aren’t uncommon this time of year, but don’t think they have reached the peak yet. Doctors and health officials are expecting the season to peak in February.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in December 2013 issued an advisory about an increase in the number of young and middle-aged people coming down with severe respiratory illness.

The Kent County Health Department did not identify the victims but urged people to get vaccinated.

“The influenza vaccine this year is highly effective protection against the flu, including H1N1,” the department’s statement said.

Read the entire statement, which includes more flu info.