Illness outbreak at Grand Rapids convention was H1N1, health department says

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The Kent County Health Department says an illness that has sickened over a hundred people who attended a Grand Rapids convention has been confirmed to be H1N1.

The illness outbreak affected people from at least 25 states who attended a convention for The National Rural Letter Carrier's Association at DeVos Place earlier this month.  The county health department says Friday that three tests in Michigan came back positive for H1N1, and other health agencies have confirmed it in other states.

About 120 people have reported illness connected with this outbreak.

H1N1 is a strain of the flu that prompted a public health emergency from the CDC in 2009.  It has been part of the flu vaccination since 2010.

“While we can’t predict what this influenza season will be like, this may possibly signal that we will see an earlier start this year,” Kent County Health Department Epidemiology Supervior Brian Hartl said in a release.

For more information on flu prevention, you can visit the Kent County Health Department's website. 

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