H1N1 claims life of Mt. Holly teen

MT. HOLLY, N.J. - October 27, 2009

The word is a 17-year-old died Saturday even though he displayed no flu symptoms on Friday.

The mood is somber on the Rancocas Valley Regional High School campus. Students are still trying to cope with the death of sophomore Andres Mendez.

"He was completely fine. I didn't know anything was wrong with him. Next thing you the know Monday and there was an announcement came, they were like Andres passed away," said Rifat Pamuk.

"It's crazy that this happened. When we first heard about the H1N1 virus we were really scared but we never thought it would be coming to our school," said Madeline Hutz.

Mendez attended school Friday and appeared healthy. Health officials say the teenager came down with a fever Saturday morning. He began convulsing and died later that day at a local hospital.

"These things do happen for most people this influenza has been mild. We've been very lucky to this point and this is a tragedy," said Robert Gogats of Burlington County Public Health.

School officials say the school is now being wiped down nightly rather than weekly. They sent a letter home to parents detailing the swine flu case and on Monday the school will set up a clinic to administer swine flu shots.

"We also have the Lysol wipes and hand sanitizers in everyone's room and we're supposed to wipe down our desks and stuff," said Ashley Decillis.

Matt McCrum said, "My mom won't let me go back to school until Monday because she wants me to get H1N1 shot."

If parents did not get the letter sent by school officials they can click here for a link to the school's website and the letter. Parents will have to provide written permission for the swine flu shot.

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