A four-month-old girl suddenly stopped breathing. She died 24 hours later, from the H1N1 virus, at Rady Children's hospital.
Pauline Martinez-Wohlers was 4 months old and had no known underlying health conditions, according to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.
"If a child that age -- up to 5 years old -- gets a fever, shows symptoms, the parents should seek medical care as soon as possible because they can go down the tubes really fast," County public health officer Wilma Wooten said.
This case is very unusual because little Pauline didn't display any flu-like symptoms, Doctors said.
The horror started last week when the mother put the infant down for a nap.
"The baby was well, had a little bit of a cough for a few days, but no fever or runny nose," Dr. John Bradley of Children's Hospital said. "45 minutes later the mom comes in to check on the baby and the baby's not breathing."
Pauline was rushed by ambulance to Paradise Valley Medical Center where she was resuscitated and then brought to Children's Hospital for further treatment. But within 24 hours, the baby was dead. At first, doctors thought she had died from sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, until tests showed that she had the H1N1 virus.
"We now know that H1N1 probably had something to do with setting up the baby for not breathing," Dr. Bradley said.
The doctor also said it's still unknown how the baby contracted swine flu. Both of Pauline's siblings had been vaccinated but the parents had not gotten vaccinations because there weren't any left.
"These parents knew the value of immunization. They were trying to do the right thing, but we just don't have enough vaccine to immunize everyone at this point in time," Dr. Bradley said.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 37 people in the County have died of swine flu, including four non-residents. More than 600 people have been hospitalized as a result of the virus.
Last week, health officials said a 43-year-old woman with no medical problems was killed by swine flu. She was the sixth person to die with no health issues besides the H1N1 virus.
Also on Wednesday, the county said its six public health centers and one immunization clinic had each received between 20 to 60 additional doses of injectable H1N1 vaccine. This limited supply will be available for pregnant women.
Patients can go to the county's Web site or call 211 for additional information on the H1N1 influenza or vaccine availability at county facilities.