An eight-year-old girl has died in Tunisia after suffering complications caused by the Shigella bacteria as officials warn of a wave of infections, health officials said on Wednesday.
Tunis regional health director Tarek Ben Naceur announced the girl’s death and told local radio station Mosaique FM that she was brought to the hospital too late for treatment to be effective in saving her life.
Shigella is a bacteria very similar to E.coli and causes dysentery, among other health issues.
Tunisian health authorities are concerned about the Shigellosis outbreak among children.
They said that 69 children have become sick from Shigellosis and 11 have been admitted to Bab Saadoun Children's Hospital in Tunis.
“The Shigella bacteria can cause death, hence the need to take the necessary precautions,” Mr Ben Naceur said. “Paying attention to hand hygiene and sterilising vegetables and fruit before eating them is necessary to prevent contracting this bacterial infection.”
Shigella infections cause diarrhoea, fever and stomach cramps. Symptoms usually begin a day or two after infection and last seven days. Doctors say it is important to seek medical care at the onset of the symptoms to avoid further complications.
Shigellosis can cause severe dehydration for children and can cause seizures leading to death if medical intervention is not sought in a timely manner.