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Cameroon children's deaths linked to toxic cough syrup

A batch of cough/cold syrup sold in Cameroon – under the brand name Naturcold – containing extremely high levels of a toxic ingredient, has prompted a global alert by the WHO after the deaths of six children.

The agency has called for more surveillance after suspicions it might be on sale in other countries as well, report Reuters.

Although the packaging label showed the syrup was manufactured by a company called Fraken International (England), Britain’s health regulator said no such company existed in the UK.

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

In 2022, more than 300 children, mainly under five, 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.


Reuters article – WHO says contaminated cough syrup sold in Cameroon (Open access)


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