Page last updated at 13:31 GMT, Thursday, 15 October 2009 14:31 UK

Swine flu kills pregnant teenager


Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon gives her reaction to the teenager's death

A pregnant teenager from the Borders has become the 15th person in Scotland to die from swine flu.

The 17-year-old is understood to have died in the past 24 hours though no further details have been released.

Pregnant women are known to be at greater risk of complications from swine flu.

The latest death comes as estimated statistics showed a sharp rise in the number of people contracting swine flu in Scotland.

This tragic death highlights that some groups are at greater risk and should take up the offer of vaccination
Nicola Sturgeon
Health secretary

The figure is estimated to have jumped from just under 7000 to 12,500 last week.

Last week also saw 64 people admitted to Scottish hospitals with swine flu, the highest figure since the outbreak began.

Pregnant women will be among the priority groups for the swine flu vaccine when it becomes available later this month.

Due to the sudden nature of the teenager's death in the Borders, a report has gone to the procurator fiscal.

It is understood the woman did not have underlying health problems.

NHS Borders joint director for public health Dr Eric Baijal said: "This is a tragic situation and our deepest sympathies are with family and friends at this very sad time.

"As investigations are currently ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon described the death of the young mother-to-be and her baby as "deeply saddening".

'Maximum protection'

"Medical experts have been telling us that pregnant women are more vulnerable to developing complications after contracting the virus.

"For this reason, they will be among the priority groups for vaccination when the H1N1 vaccine becomes available later this month."

Ms Sturgeon urged all pregnant women to get vaccinated in order to ensure "maximum protection" for themselves and their babies.

She said: "While there is no evidence to suggest that the virus is becoming any more dangerous for the public at large, this tragic death highlights that some groups are at greater risk and should take up the offer of vaccination."

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