Four children were killed and 24 others fell ill in Beni Suef after taking a rehydration medication, prompting Health Minister Adel Adawy to refer the case to the public prosecutor on Sunday, state news agency MENA reported.
The pharmacy’s manager was also referred to investigations.
Two children, a one-year-old boy and an 11-month-old girl, died in Beni Suef Monday, Al-Ahram’s Arabic website reported.
The death of an 11-month-old boy Sunday was also confirmed, increasing the death toll to four in total.
The first victim was an 8-month-old girl who died Saturday.
Three hospitals in Beni Suef have received 27 children whose symptoms were diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, and stomach aches – meaning they lost fluids and minerals and needed medication for rehydration – according to a health ministry statement.
They suffered seizures after using 50cc of the ‘Rehydran’ medication. Use of the medication was then immediately halted, according to the statement.
Most of the children’s conditions improved following treatment of the seizures, but ten children whose conditions were critical were transferred to bigger hospitals. The four that died were in this group.
The governor of Beni Suef decided to compensate the children’s families, with 20,000 EGP for the deceased child’s family and 1,000 EGP for the injured child’s family, according to Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website.
The health minister ordered that all such medication be seized and a health ministry team to be sent to follow the children’s conditions. The remaining medication’s solution will be investigated through forensic medicine.
Egypt suffers from a broken healthcare system. Doctors have staged several strikes since 2011 calling for improving health conditions. Their demands include a higher minimum wage and raising the national health budget from 3.5 to 15 percent of the state budget.