7 Feb 2009

Child deaths from tainted syrup rise in Nigeria

11:13 am on 7 February 2009

The number of children killed in Nigeria by contaminated teething syrup is now 84.

Health minister Babatunde Osotimehin said on Friday that 111 cases have been reported of children falling ill after taking "My Pikin" teething syrup contaminated with diethylene glycol, a compound blamed for causing kidney failure.

They were aged between two months and seven years.

The first case was discovered on 3 November with symptoms including diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, convulsions and an inability to pass urine.

Health officials said in December that 24 children had died.

More than 400 bottles of My Pikin syrup have been retrieved from markets around the country and a number of people involved in distributing it have been arrested.

The Lagos-based company which makes the syrup has been closed.

In 1990, 109 children in Ibadan and the city of Jos died after taking paracetamol syrup which contained ethylene glycol solvent, a compound related to diethylene glycol. It is normally used in engine coolant.