Girl's death from H1N1 worries Cornwall parents

Some parents in the Cornwall, Ont., area are worried about their children's health after a young girl died of swine flu last weekend.

Some parents in the Cornwall, Ont., area are worried about their children's health after a young girl died of swine flu.

A photo of 10-year-old Vanetia Warner taken from a Facebook tribute group. Warner died of H1N1 on Sunday. ((Facebook))
10-year-old Vanetia Warner passed away on the weekend at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario after being diagnosed with H1N1 influenza.

She attended St. Anne's Catholic School in Cornwall and was in good health before contracting swine flu.

Bill Vida, who has three children who attend St. Anne's school, said he is keeping his kids at home for now. 

"We just don’t feel comfortable sending the children to school until they've had their shot," Vida said.

"The girl was perfectly healthy, and she succumbed to the swine flu," Vida said. "We're just scared parents right now."

William Gartland, the director of the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario, said absenteeism at the school has gone up, but he said he doesn't know whether it's on account of illness or parents keeping children home.

"We are working closely with parents to provide the latest information so there won't be panic," Gartland said.

School-age children a vaccine priority

The Eastern Ontario Board of Health said it is putting school-age children on its priority list for the H1N1 vaccine. As of Friday, children living in eastern Ontario will be able to get the vaccine.

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, said the expansion of the priority list was motivated by the girl’s death and the high rate of absenteeism in schools.

The death is the second one — and the first death of a child — linked to H1N1 in the area served by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, which includes the counties of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott, Russell and the city of Cornwall.

A 52-year-old eastern Ontario woman died in June after testing positive for H1N1.