GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The Kent County Health Department is confirming a fourth flu-related death this season.
Health authorities say the person was over the age of 50 and had underlying medical conditions. Initial testing shows it was influenza A, however the strain was not yet confirmed.
Three other deaths in Kent County were H1N1.
As of January 23, there were 522 reported flu cases in Kent County this season.
"This year, we've seen several tragic consequences connected to the flu," says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. "While three of the four cases had known pre-existing medical conditions, we know that the flu has impacted individuals of all ages and health levels." Nationally, most of the cases of influenza being reported this year are H1N1, which in some cases leads to pneumonia and other severe respiratory issues.
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age. The influenza vaccine this year is highly effective protection against the flu, including H1N1. It takes 10 - 14 days after receiving the vaccination for a person to develop immunity.