The number of reported deaths linked to swine flu in the Bay Area rose to 17 Tuesday after public health officials reported new deaths in Solano and San Mateo counties.
There have been four flu deaths in Santa Clara County, three each in Alameda and San Mateo counties, two each in Marin and Sonoma counties, and one each in San Francisco, Solano and Contra Costa counties.
Many of the deaths are attributable to a strain of influenza that has targeted the relatively young and healthy. One victim in Sonoma County, Matthew Walker, was only 23.
The vaccine is well-matched to this year's flu season and protects against all strains of influenza that have been identified in patients. The primary strain circulating this year is Type A, subtype H1N1 - also known as the "swine flu," which caused a global outbreak in 2009.
People age 65 and older appear to have some protection against H1N1, which tends to strike younger adults - even those who are otherwise healthy - harder than most influenza strains. Symptoms of the flu include high fever, body aches and a sudden onset of illness.
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