While state health officials report that the new flu season activity is low, sporadic and within expected levels, two deaths have already been reported in California.

On Wednesday, Nov. 4, the state Department of Public Health reported the death of a person under age 65 who lived in Santa Clara County. Two days later, CDPH received the first report of an influenza-associated fatality in a person under the age of 1. The death occurred in Stanislaus County.

“To protect babies who cannot yet be vaccinated, we should get our flu shots,” said State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “Preventing the spread of this often deadly disease is why getting vaccinated is so important.”

Young children less than a year of age are at increased risk of severe influenza, according to the CDPH officials.

While children cannot be vaccinated for the flu until they are 6 months old, there are several ways to protect them. Pregnant women should get vaccinated. This will protect the mother and the newborn baby.

Also, anyone who is around a young child or other high-risk person should be vaccinated to reduce the risk of spreading influenza.

Influenza viruses circulate at their peak levels from December through April.