SANTA CLARA COUNTY (KCBS) – Santa Clara County health officials announced on Thursday the first known Bay Area flu-related death of the season.

This comes on the heels of a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report showing 47 states in the U.S. are now reporting widespread influenza activity, reaching epidemic levels.

At a news conference on Thursday, Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib would not disclose many details, other than that the death occurred earlier this month.

“We did have one report earlier this month of a death in a 98-year-old woman,” Fenstershieb said.

The woman’s name or city she lived in were not made public.

Fenstersheib said she had underlying chronic illnesses, but also influenza and pneumonia. Her death comes as the region is seeing increased influenza activity.

“We know through our surveillance system that there are more hospitalizations due to influenza-like illnesses and we know there’s more lab activity as well,” he said.

There have been five flu-related deaths in California this season.

Fenstersheib said he thinks we’re in the middle of an outbreak and it could get worse, advising that if you haven’t gotten a vaccine yet, you shouldn’t wait much longer.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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