A second person has died in Santa Clara County from influenza, and the first deaths in San Mateo County and San Francisco were also reported by county health officials on Jan. 9.
A 61-year-old man died of H1N1 influenza in Santa Clara County this week, Santa Clara County health officials said. The man had underlying medical conditions. His is the second flu death reported in the county this season. A 41-year old woman died from H1N1 in December.
In addition to the two deaths confirmed from H1N1, 12 cases of severe flu have been reported to date in Santa Clara County this flu season, and six were confirmed to be H1N1; one was Flu B. The remaining strains were not confirmed, county officials said.
In San Mateo County, a woman in her 40s died, becoming that county's first flu-related death of the season. There have been six other flu-related hospitalizations in the county, health officials said.
The H1N1 influenza strain, known as "swine flu" when it first emerged in 2009, appears to be the main strain afflicting people this flu season. Peak flu season is between January and March. Health officials are urging vaccinations for everyone ages 6 months and older. This year's vaccine protects against H1N1.
"The fact that we are seeing an increase in flu activity, flu-related hospitalizations and deaths should motivate us to take action now and get a flu shot to prevent the most serious effects of the flu," said Dr. Scott Morrow, Health Officer for San Mateo County.
Deaths and hospitalizations related to H1N1 occurred in other Bay Area counties.
One person died around the end of December in San Francisco, Department of Public Health spokeswoman Colleen Chawla said.
A 23-year-old Sonoma County resident died Wednesday after contracting the H1N1 strain of the flu. Eight other flu cases have led to hospitalization, Sonoma County Health Service assistant director Tammy Moss Chandler said.
In Alameda County, the first and only flu death of the season so far occurred the week of Dec. 22, county public health department spokeswoman Sherri Willis said.
A death in Contra Costa County reported this month was confirmed to be flu-related earlier this week, according to health officials. The 48-year-old woman who had underlying health conditions died after she was infected with the H1N1 virus.
There have been 17 flu hospitalizations in that county so far this flu season.
In Marin County, there have been two flu deaths this season, health officials said. A 63-year-old man with chronic medical conditions died on Dec. 27, and a healthy 48-year-old woman died of an influenza-related complication on Jan. 6, according to Marin County Public health officials.
More information is available at the California Department of Public Health website, www.cdph.ca.gov/HEALTHINFO/DISCOND/Pages/H1N1Prevention.aspx.
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