Barry County resident dies related to flu

(file photo)
(file photo)

BARRY COUNTY, Mich. (WOOD) – A Barry County resident has become the ninth person in West Michigan to die in connection with the flu this winter season.

Specific details of the victim’s death are unknown.

“Influenza-like illness is circulating at high levels in Barry and Eaton counties”, Robert Schirmer, MD, medical director for the Barry-Eaton District Health Department said in a news release.

There have been 12 residents in Eaton County and three residents in Barry County with confirmed influenza, officials said. But these confirmed infections are a small fraction of the number of residents with influenza, as most people with influenza do not seek medical attention, or if seen by a health care provider do not undergo confirmatory testing.

Four people in Kent County, three people in Kalamazoo County, and one person in Van Buren County have also died related to the illness this season.

All of the victims were all older than 50.

Doctors said younger and middle-aged people are being particularly hard hit by this latest strain of influenza A (H1N1) instead of elderly citizens and infants, as in the past.

Key influenza symptoms may include fever, cough, body aches, sore throat, headache, runny nose, teeth hurt, ear pain, chills, sweats, chest pain, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

Health department officials said it is still not too late for you to the get the flu vaccine if you haven’t already. Influenza vaccination is recommended for everybody older than 6 months.

Contact your local health department about flu shots:

Allegan County Health Department: 269.673.5411

Barry Eaton District Health Department:  517.543.2430

Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency:  517.279.5400

Berrien County Health Department: 269.927.5623

Calhoun County Health Department: 269.969.6370

Ionia County Health Department: 616.527.5241

Kalamazoo Health and Community Services: 269.373.5200

Kent County Health Department: 616.632.7200

Mecosta, Newaygo and Oceana County: (see website)

Montcalm County:  989.831.5237

Muskegon County Public Health: 231.724.6246

Ottawa County Department of Public Health: 616.846.8360

Van Buren and Cass County District Health Department:  269.445.5280

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