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AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

This Oct. 17, 2012 file photo shows a flu shot administration.

The influenza death toll in Kern County rose by one to nine on Thursday, according to the Kern County Department of Public Health Services.

The department did not disclose the patient's age or gender. It wasn't immediately clear whether the person had had a flu shot.

As of Thursday, 69 people have been hospitalized with flu-like symptoms this flu season in Kern, including 44 sick enough to be sent to intensive care.

Sixteen tested positive for the H1N1 strand of the disease, which disproportionately affects the young and middle-aged.

Doctors recommend flu shots for anyone age 6 months and older. The shots are available at the offices of Public Health and at many local pharmacies.