A 41-year-old woman who died shortly before Christmas is Santa Clara County's first flu death of the season, county health officials said.
The woman died on Dec. 23 due to the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, according to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.
The county has also recorded seven cases of severe flu so far this flu season, six of which were also confirmed to be H1N1 and one of which was Flu B, officials said.
However, only flu cases in persons less than 65 years of age that are severe enough to require hospitalization in an intensive care unit or result in death are reported to the Public Health Department.
Health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated against the flu, saying it is not too late. This year's vaccine does protect against H1N1.
In addition, residents are reminded to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when they sneeze or cough, wash their hands often with plain soap and water or alcohol-based hand cleaners, avoid contact with those who are sick and stay home if they are sick themselves.