A six-year-old girl from the Toronto area and two Quebecers have increased to 16 the number of Canadians to die after contracting influenza A (H1N1), also known as swine flu.
Health officials were unsure yesterday what role the H1N1 virus played in the Ontario girl’s death.
Authorities did not release the name of the girl, who is believed to be the youngest person in Canada with the virus to have died.
Public health officials in Ontario said the girl showed the usual symptoms of a flu — coughing and fever — June 14, and died the next day without having been admitted to hospital.
The coroner’s office is still investigating the cause of the six-year-old’s death, said Dr. Arlene King, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health.
Laboratory tests last Friday confirmed the young girl did have the H1N1 virus, but she was not showing any symptoms the last day she had gone to school, King said.
“We do not recommend that any schools be closed if there is a suspected or confirmed case (of swine flu),” she said.
“I encourage parents to continue to send their kids to school unless they’re feeling ill.”
Health Minister David Caplan offered his condolences to the girl’s family, friends and classmates, and said the province would continue its efforts to stay on top of the flu pandemic.