- The World Health Organisation has issued a global health alert over four cough syrups linked to the death of 66 children
- It said that the syrups are made by an Indian company and contain harmful substances capable of causing fatal injuries in children
- Already, the syrups have killed over 60 children in The Gambia as the authorities in that country have asked that people discontinue the use of paracetamol syrups
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The World Health Organisation has raised a global alarm over four cough syrups and warned they could be linked to the deaths of 66 children in The Gambia.
The BBC reports said the syrups have been linked to acute kidney injuries among the 66 children who died.
WHO reveals names of killer syrups
According to WHO, the products are made by an Indian firm, Maiden, that could not provide assurances about their safety.
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Indian officials said they have asked WHO to provide evidence of the link between the syrups and the deaths.
The global health body identified the medicines as Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup.
WHO said the four products identified in The Gambia might have been distributed in the black market to other countries or regions.
The intervention by WHO came after medical experts in The Gambia, a popular tourist destination, found an increase in cases of critical kidney injury among children under five in late July.
The government of The Gambia has since suspended the use of all paracetamol syrups and urged people to use tablets instead.
The Health Services Director, Mustapha Bittay, said there had been a decline in deaths since the ban was announced in the last two weeks.
Bittay said that The Gambia does not have a laboratory capable of testing if the medicines were safe, so they sent them abroad for sampling. He said The Gambia was in talks with the World Bank to get funding for a quality control lab.
The WHO stated that the lab analysis of the samples of the syrups shows that they contain inappropriate amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants.
The substances were harmful, and their effects can include abdominal pains, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to urinate, headaches, altered mental state and acute kidney injury, which may lead to death.
The Health Minister said that the syrups have traces of E.Coli, a bacteria which can cause diarrhoea and vomiting.
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