Indonesia flags 2 possible syrup-related cases among children

Jakarta, Feb 6 (EFE).- Indonesia said Monday that a one-year-old baby died and another seven-year-old child was admitted to hospital after allegedly ingesting contaminated syrups, which have claimed the lives of at least 201 children in the country in the past several months.

The baby died on Feb. 1 after an apparent flu – with symptoms such as cough, fever, runny nose – led to acute kidney failure, the health ministry’s bureau of communication and public services said in a statement on Monday.

This is similar to the case of a seven-year-old who is still undergoing treatment.

“Further examination of drug samples and patient blood is being carried out,” the statement said.

“As a matter of caution, although the investigation into the real cause of this case is still ongoing, the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) has issued an order to temporarily stop the production and distribution of drugs consumed by patients until the investigation is complete,” it added.

For the moment, the cough and fever syrups that the two children took – of the local brands, Praxion and Puskesmas – do not coincide with those indicated as possible causes of another 200 child deaths due to acute renal disorder in Indonesia over a period of six months. A total of 326 cases have been reported in the country.

Indonesia is one of at least three countries, along with The Gambia and Uzbekistan – where at least 70 and 21 deaths have been reported respectively -, that have registered the death of children from acute kidney injury since mid-2022, after allegedly taking contaminated syrups.

So far, the only link between the syrups identified as possible causes of deaths in each country – the drugs investigated in Gambia and Uzbekistan come from two Indian pharmaceutical companies, Maiden Pharmaceuticals and Marion Biotech, and those in Indonesia are locally produced – is the apparent presence of toxic amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol.

These chemicals are commonly used as industrial solvents and antifreeze agents, and can be highly toxic to the kidneys and liver. EFE


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