WHO Warns of Killer Cough Syrups after 300 Children Fatalities

January 25, 2023

World Health Organization has raised alarm over killer cough syrups which as caused more than 300 children fatalities in three counters.

The children mainly aged under 5 – in the Gambia, Indonesia and Uzbekistan died of acute kidney injury,

This a third warning issued by WHO against the use of two types of cough syrups produced in India after 18 children from Uzbekistan suffered death after taking it.

Last year the organization had given another warning after 60 children died in Gambia. Before this, Indonesia reported over 200 death associated to this syrup.

Speaking to Reuters on Monday, WHO said that the Philippines, Timor Leste, Senegal and Cambodia may be affected because they may have the medicines on sale. It called for action across its 194 member states to prevent more deaths.

The syrups which are sold over the counter were confirmed to be contamination with high levels of Diethylene glycol (DEG) and ethylene glycol (EG) which are fatal to human health.

“These contaminants are toxic chemicals used as industrial solvents and antifreeze agents that can be fatal even taken in small amounts, and should never be found in medicines,” the WHO said.

The two products linked to the death of children in Uzbekistan go by the brand name AMBRONOL syrup and DOK-1 Max syrup.

After conducting an analysis of the products, sold in the Republic of Uzbekistan, WHO found out that the syrup contained ‘unacceptable’ amounts of chemicals called diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol.

These two chemicals were also found in the Gambian syrups last year and are known to have fatal impacts on human beings when ingested.   WHO advised manufacturers, especially those that produce syrups, to check for the presence of contaminants in their products.

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