Egyptian medical and legal authorities are investigating the suspected food poisoning death of a six-year old Italian boy in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, the Italian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
Authorities opened an inquiry and ordered an autopsy following the death of Andrea Mirabile on Saturday, July 2, at the request of his parents. The case remains under investigation, the Egyptian Health Ministry told The National.
The child’s parents, who suffered similar symptoms, were admitted to the Sharm International Hospital. The mother, Rosalia Manosperti, has been discharged, but the father, Antonio Mirabile, remains in hospital, the foreign ministry said.
The Italian Embassy in Cairo and foreign ministry are seeking the “prompt repatriation of the child’s body” and to bring the parents back to Italy “as quickly as possible”.
Meanwhile, the embassy and Honorary Consulate in Sharm El Sheikh have maintained a close watch over the parents’ medical progress.
The family from Palermo had been vacationing in Sharm El Sheikh when they developed severe nausea and started vomiting on Friday, Andrea’s uncle Roberto Manosperti told Italian daily newspaper La Stampa.
While the mother, who is four months pregnant, had milder symptoms, the child and father, aged 46, were in more serious condition.
“The child was very ill. My brother-in-law thought he ingested water in the pool. But it couldn’t just be that,” Mr Manosperti said.
They visited a local doctor, who gave them an infusion of a physiological solution and prescribed pills to treat food poisoning.
When the symptoms did not go away on Saturday, the couple called an ambulance and went to the hospital.
Andrea, who was given a drip upon arrival at hospital, died an hour later, Mr Manosperti said. The father, who has kidney and heart problems, remains in serious condition.
Sharm International Hospital did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, with their all-inclusive packages and nearly year-round sunshine, are popular with European tourists. The Red Sea region draws about 65 per cent of all tourists arriving in the country.
Sharm El Sheikh in the Sinai Peninsula is also where the UN Cop27 climate change conference will take place in November.
However, the country’s tourism industry has suffered due to the Covid-19 pandemic and more recently the Russia-Ukraine war.
Further south on the Red Sea coast close to Hurghada, two European women were killed in separate shark attacks last week, prompting authorities to temporarily close the Sahl Hasheesh beach where the incidents took place.
In November, 47 tourists were hospitalised after a hotel dinner at a resort in Hurghada. Tourism authorities ordered the closure of the hotel, suspended its director and revoked his work license.