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Bay Area Flu-Related Death Toll Rises To 18

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A box of influenza vaccine shots is seen in the MinuteClinic at the CVS/pharmacy on January 6, 2014 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The 2013-2014 influenza season is starting to take off in the United States, with more than half the country reporting widespread cases of flu activity, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A box of influenza vaccine shots. ( Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

CBS SF Bay (con't)

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SOLANO COUNTY (CBS SF) — More flu deaths were reported throughout the Bay Area Tuesday, with 18 residents fatally contracting the virus so far this winter season, according to health officials.

There was one death reported in Solano County Tuesday after a Vallejo man in his 40s was infected with the H1N1 strain, or “swine flu.”

His was the first flu death of the season in that county.

The man had chronic medical conditions before he fell ill, county health officials said.

There have been also been 10 people hospitalized in the county with swine flu and other strains of influenza, according to health officials.

A third flu-related death was reported today in San Mateo County. The second was reported Monday, county health system spokeswoman Robyn Thaw said.

Two of the three patients that died had underlying medical conditions and at least two of the cases were H1N1, according to health officials.

In Sonoma County, a 54-year-old died in the county’s second flu-related death. A 23-year-old had died from the flu earlier this season.

In additional to those fatalities, there have been four deaths in Santa Clara County, three in Alameda County and two in Marin County. There has been one death each in Contra Costa, Santa Cruz and San Francisco counties.

Swine flu, which first emerged in 2009, is known to be more dangerous to young and middle-age adults than other strains of the flu.

Health officials are urging everyone ages 6 months and older to get vaccinated.

The peak of flu season is between January and March, and the vaccine takes about two weeks after inoculation to be fully effective, according to health officials.

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