Gambian baby deaths lead to WHO cough syrup warning

By AT editor - 6 October 2022 at 1:25 pm
Gambian baby deaths lead to WHO cough syrup warning

Following the deaths of dozens of babies and children in The Gambia, a product alert for cough syrups believed to be linked to the fatalities has been issued by the World Health Organization.

Four products manufactured by Maiden Pharmaceuticals Limited in Haryana, India, are included in the warning. They should be considered unsafe, WHO said, because their use may lead to serious injury or death, especially in children. More than 60 deaths are believed to be linked to the syrup use.

“Laboratory analysis of samples of each of the four products confirms that they contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol as contaminants,” WHO said in a statement. “To date, these four products have been identified in The Gambia, but may have been distributed, through informal markets, to other countries or regions.”

Gambian authorities first suspended the use of paracetamol syrups in early September as they investigated acute kidney injuries. Dr. Mustapha Bittaye told media outlets in the West African nation that autopsies on dozens of children who died suggested that the products were unsafe.

The syrups included in the WHO warning are:

  • Promethazine Oral Solution
  • Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup
  • Makoff Baby Cough Syrup
    Magrip N Cold Syrup

WHO said symptoms of exposure include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state, and acute kidney injury.

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

Image: World Health Organization

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