This virus was originally referred to as 'swine flu' because showed lab tests showed that genes in the virus were very similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs in North America. Photo from the CDC website.
A 48-year-old woman who died earlier this week is Contra Costa County's first flu death of the season, county health officials said today.
Contra Costa Health Services spokeswoman Kate Fowlie said the woman had underlying health conditions in addition to being infected with the H1N1 virus.
The woman, whose name is not being released, was one of 17 people under 65 years old in Contra Costa County who have been hospitalized with the virus this flu season, according to Fowlie.
The H1N1 virus -- sometimes called swine flu -- surfaced in the United States in 2009, causing the first global pandemic in more than 40 years and resulting in a number of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The public is advised to get yearly flu vaccinations to protect against H1N1 as well as other types of flu viruses.