Tainted teething syrup kills kids
Child deaths from poisoned syrup rise to 84.
(Getty Images)
The number of children killed in Nigeria by teething syrup tainted with a poisonous chemical has risen to 84, the health minister has said.

The Minister, Babatunde Osotimehin, said in a statement that "the poison has caused many deaths in children between the ages of 2 months and 7 years old in Nigeria. 111 cases have been reported since November and 84 children are reported dead."

The children had fallen ill after taking "My Pikin" teething syrup contaminated with diethylene glycol, a compound blamed for causing kidney failure.

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

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 down.

Tainted, fake and counterfeit drugs have long been a problem in Africa's most populous nation, though the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has been leading a crackdown.

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