SAN MATEO (CBS SF) — Two more Bay Area counties reported their first flu-related deaths of the season on Thursday. A woman in her 40s died in San Mateo County, and a 23-year-old in Sonoma County also succumbed to the virus.
Health officials in San Mateo County said there have been six other flu-related hospitalizations in that county. The individual who died in Sonoma County was previously healthy. Health officials said this was the only influenza death in Sonoma County, although eight cases of severe influenza have been reported to date.
The H1N1 influenza strain, known as “swine flu”, appears to be the main strain afflicting people this flu season.
Of the nine deaths in recent weeks from this outbreak, three cases saw victims in their 40s, who were otherwise healthy adults, including a 48-year-old woman in Marin County.
The woman who died Thursday in San Mateo County did have some underlying medical conditions, according to county health official Robyn Thaw. In a statement, Thaw stressed that people without underlying medical problems can still have a severe case of the flu that could lead to hospitalization and possibly death.
Peak flu season is between January and March.
There have been dozens of swine flu-related hospital admissions in the Bay Area. Dr. Matt Willis, the Marin County health officer said people of all ages can be affected, whether they are healthy or not. Willis added that it’s particularly disturbing that people as young as their 40s were being fatally struck by the virus.