A Pierce County man in his 40s had died from complications of the flu, reports the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.
This is the first flu-related death of the season in Washington state. Last year, 247 people in Washington died from the flu.
The Pierce County resident who perished had several pre-existing conditions before testing positive for influenza B. He was in the ICU for more than a week prior to his death.
Since mid-September, four other people have also contracted the flu in Pierce County, two with influenza A and two with influenza B. The patients range from late teens to late 60s. All of them had at least one other affliction prior to getting the flu.
Typically, influenza A is more severe than influenza B, which is more common later in the season. But in Pierce County, the most severe cases have involved influenza B.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said the five cases from Pierce County so early in the season underscore the importance of getting a flu shot sooner than later.