GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP/WVOC) - At least six people in South Carolina have died of the flu so far this season, including one in Richland County.

The Greenville News reports influenza cases began rising dramatically the week before Christmas.

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control says the first case in South Carolina this fall and/or winter was reported in October.

The agency says 401 people as of December 21st had been hospitalized for the flu.

DHEC says the flu killed 46 South Carolinians and hospitalized 1,721 between September 30th, 2012, and September 21st, 2013.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the most prevalent strain this season is the H1N1 virus, which hits younger people hardest.