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Contra Costa woman is 7th county flu death

More than 55 flu deaths recorded in Bay Area since start of influenza season

A Contra Costa County woman has been identified the latest area flu death.

The woman, who was in her 40s, died sometime over the past month, Contra Costa County Health Services spokeswoman Kate Fowlie said.

Officials did not release the woman's name or the specific area in which she lived.

She was the seventh person in the county under 65 years old to die from the flu since December, Fowlie said.

At least some of those cases were confirmed to be the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, according to Fowlie.

The virus first surfaced in the U.S. in 2009, prompting the first global pandemic in more than 40 years as well as numerous hospitalizations and deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of last Friday, more than 55 flu deaths have been recorded in the Bay Area since the beginning of this flu season and 278 have been statewide, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Most of the Californians younger than 65 who have died from the flu this season had underlying health conditions, according to state health officials.

The health department is recommending that all residents get vaccinated against the flu.

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