swine fluA nine-year-old girl from St. Lucia has died after contracting the H1N1 virus, commonly known as the Swine Flu, prompting an investigation and health officials calling on residents to be vigilant and remain on guard during the wet season.

“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,” Chief Medical Officer. Merlene Fredericks said.

She said despite that outbreak, no deaths were reported.

“So we are right now investigating the situation,” she stated. “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.”

She called on St. Lucians to get vaccinated and placed emphasis on those at risk, especially the elderly, the youth, health care workers, and people with underlying medical conditions.

She noted that flu shots are available free of charge at wellness centers and there is enough medication on the island for treating the disease.

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.