State health officials say the death toll from this season's flu has reached 45.

The California Department of Public Health says an additional 50 unconfirmed fatalities may be linked to the H1N1 strain of the virus.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chavez says this season is peaking early.

"For reference, during the entire last season ... we received a total of 106 deaths reported to us," Chavez said. 

Officials say they're concerned with the high numbers of deaths so far, given that the season does not ususally end until the spring.

Sacramento County is leading the way with 11 flu linked deaths, and it's specifically because of this year's higher fatality count that doctors are still trying to get their message across:

"People need to get vaccinated," implored Sacramento County Public Health's Dr. Olivia Kasire.

Sacramento County leads the state in number of deaths resulting from the flu, well above the four flu-related deaths last year during this same time.  Dr. Kasirye says the virus strain going around Sacramento is a tough one that even those who are at peak physical shape can succumb to.

"H1N1, which is a predominant strain that is circulating, is that even people who are otherwise young and healthy are actually getting severe disease.  People need to be aware of that and not take this lightly," Dr. Kasire warned.

She added that they don't know when the flu season will peak but they're expecting it could go into March.