SHARJAH // An 11-year-old girl has died and her mother and younger brother are seriously ill in hospital in a suspected case of poisoning.
The Iraqi girl died in the intensive-care unit at Al Qassimi Hospital on Monday, two days after being admitted. Her mother, who works at the hospital, was in a critical condition today.
Her six-year-old brother was taken to a hospital in Abu Dhabi.
The mother and her children, as well as her husband and their maid, went to hospital on Saturday complaining of severe diarrhoea and vomiting, said Dr Saqer Al Mulla, who helped treat the family.
The father and maid were given the all clear.
Members of another family living on the 11th floor of the same building were also admitted to Al Qassimi Hospital that day, showing signs of nausea, while some were vomiting, according to Al Ittihad, the sister newspaper of The National.
"The case is already with police and it's up to them to tell whether it's a food poisoning or a pesticides poisoning based on their investigations," Dr Al Mulla said.
The body of the girl was taken to the emirate's forensic laboratory to determine the cause of death, a police spokesman said. The case is being investigated by officers from Al Gharb police station.
"We truly regret that such an incident occurred," said Colonel Sultan Al Khayal, head of Media and Public Relations at Sharjah Police.
"On Monday July 1st, we discovered through inspections, that the pesticide entered the apartment of the victim's family in the form of gas being inhaled.
"We started working on a campaign to increase awareness in the public and to identify the root of the syndicate selling these illegal and lethal [chemicals]. We call on the residents to get in touch with the police for any information that can help secure the lives of the community and the children who are affected the most."
Poisoning due to fumes inhalation was also suspected in this case, but the family members were given treatment and their conditions stabilised. They were discharged on Monday.
Prosecutors in Sharjah are expecting a forensics lab report to be finalised within days.