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.
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