LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Flu season is taking hold across Southern California and some counties have reported an uptick in the number of cases among healthy young and middle-aged adults, health officials warned Friday.

KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports the warnings come after a 28-year-old San Juan Capistrano woman became Orange County’s first reported flu death of the season.

The unidentified victim was confirmed by officials as the first person under 65 to die from an influenza-related illness this season in Orange County. The woman was believed to have a preexisting condition that contributed to her death, officials said.

Flu season generally begins in November and lasts until March, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which issued an alert on Christmas Eve warning that cases of the pH1N1 virus may continue to spread among younger people this season.

Los Angeles County has seen two flu-related deaths since September, and the flu rate in San Diego County is up about 150 percent compared to this time last year, according to officials.

The Ventura County Star reports 12 people in Kern County and two in Ventura County have been hospitalized with flu-like symptoms, according to the Associated Press.

Dr. Michelle Chung with the Orange County Health Care Agency said the data shows why it’s important for young people to get vaccinated now.

“The main message is that influenza can cause severe illness in people of any age,” Chung said.

Initially known as the “swine flu,” the H1N1 strain first appeared in 2009 and has since caused an estimated 284,500 deaths globally, according to the World Health Organization.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

RELATED: Flu Claims Life Of 28-Year-Old San Juan Capistrano Woman


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