It's only January, yet there has been a 200 percent increase in the number of reported flu cases in San Mateo County over 2012 according to Dr. Karen Relucio, Assistant Health Officer for the San Mateo County Health Department.
"There is a 200 percent increase in the number of flu tests that are positive as compared to the same time in 2012," said Relucio.
Relucio confirmed that within San Mateo County, one woman in her 40s has died from the flu, and six others are hospitalized in intensive care units. The woman's death is one of nine confirmed fatal infections of the flu throughout the Bay Area this season.
Click on the video above to hear excerpts from a press conference on Thursday with Dr. Karen Relucio.
Although the very old and the very young are typically the hardest hit by the flu', Relucio says this year the H1N1 virus knows no age boundaries. 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.
"People are younger to middle aged. This is very consistent with what happened during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, in fact, it is the same strain," said Relucio.
The doctor reiterated the importance of getting a flu shot, in addition to other virus prevention steps such as frequent hand washing and staying away from others who are sick. She said there are sufficient amounts of the vaccine available to people in San Mateo County.
Relucio said peak flu season is between January and March.