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New flu deaths in Santa Clara, San Mateo counties

A second person has died in Santa Clara County from influenza, and the first death in San Mateo County was also reported by county health officials today, 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 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.

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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