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WHO Raises Alarm Over Contaminated Cough Syrup In Cameroon, May Result To Death

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WHO Raises Alarm Over Contaminated Cough Syrup In Cameroon, May Result To Death

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an alert on the circulation of a batch of cough and cold syrup sold in Cameroon under the brand name Naturcold which contains extremely high levels of a toxic ingredient.

The warning by the global health agency is the latest in a series of recent warnings about contaminated cough syrups.

The WHO in a statement on Wednesday said the packaging label on the syrup showed it was manufactured by a company called Fraken International (England), but the UK health regulator said no such company exists in the country.

The WHO in its statement said, “Enquires are still underway to determine the origin of the product. Therefore, the stated manufacturer has not provided guarantees to WHO on the safety and quality of these products.

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“The product referenced in this Alert may have marketing authorizations in other countries or regions. It may also have been distributed through informal markets to neighbouring countries.

“The substandard products referenced in this Alert are unsafe and their use, especially in children, may result in serious injury or death.

“Toxic effects can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state and acute kidney injury which may lead to death.

“If you have the affected product, WHO recommends that you do not use it.

“If you, or someone you know, has or may have used the affected product, or suffered an adverse reaction or unexpected side-effect after use, you are advised to seek immediate medical advice from a healthcare professional.

“WHO requests increased surveillance and diligence within the supply chains of countries and regions likely to be affected by these products.

“Increased surveillance of the informal/unregulated market is also advised.”

Blaze Newz recalls that in 2022, over 300 children, mainly aged under 5, in Gambia, Indonesia and Uzbekistan died of acute kidney injury, in deaths associated with similar products made by other manufacturers. The WHO has said the threat is ongoing.

The alert in Cameroon follows the country’s health regulator saying in April that it was investigating the deaths of six children linked to Naturcold. The WHO had told Reuters it was supporting the authorities there.

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The acceptable limit for diethylene glycol, the contaminant found in the syrup, is no more than 0.1%, according to the WHO, but the Naturcold batch had syrups that contained as much as 28.6% of the substance.

Hammed Tajudeen is a graduate of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree with Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication

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