Child dies in St. Lucia after contracting H1N1 virus

A nine year-old girl has died after contracting the H1N1 virus.

And the development has prompted Chief Medical Officer Dr. Merlene Fredericks to urge the public to be vigilant and remain on guard against vector borne diseases as the wet season progresses.

“Persons will recall that the island had a huge H1N1 swine flu outbreak in 2009, with thousands of children affected, and we actually had to shut down some schools because of the outbreak,” she said.

“But in 2009 we had no deaths in children from this disease. So we are right now investigating the situation. We want to ensure that the child in particular didn’t have any underlying medical conditions which may have predisposed to the outcome in that particular child.”

Dr. Fredericks urged members of the public, especially those most at risk – the elderly, the youth, health care workers, and people with underlying medical conditions – to get vaccinated.

She said the public could access flu shots, free of charge, at all wellness centres.

The Chief Medical Officer also assured that the island had adequate stores of the medication to treat H1N1 and could access more if it was required.

The H1N1 virus, often referred to as the swine flu virus, is transmitted from person to person via droplets and small particles produced when infected people cough or sneeze. Symptoms are similar to those of the seasonal flu and include: cough, fever, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue.

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