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The 28-year-old woman also had “underlying medical conditions”

By Brian Park

A 28-year-old San Juan Capistrano woman is the first person in Orange County under 65 to die of the influenza virus this flu season, county health officials said last week.

The woman, whose name has not been released, contracted the H1N1 strain of the flu virus and died sometime the week prior, according to Deanne Thompson, spokesperson for the Orange County Health Care Agency. The woman also had “underlying medical conditions,” Thompson said.

Reports of influenza, primarily the H1N1 strain, have increased over the last few weeks in Orange County, according to a release. The strain is the same as the one behind the 2009 flu pandemic, which infected between 43-88 million people and killed between 8,720 to 18,050 people in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Young people and middle-aged adults are particularly susceptible to the H1N1 strain. Of the estimated deaths in 2009, around 6,700 to 13,860 occurred in people between the ages of 18-64.

County health officials recommend residents protect themselves against influenza by getting vaccinated annually. Free flu shots are available each Thursday through January 30 at HCA’s Family Health Clinic, 1725 West 17th Street in Santa Ana, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The state mandates influenza hospitalizations and deaths for persons under 65 to be reported but not for those older.

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