Urgent warning as 200 children die in agony from cough syrup contaminated with chemicals found in brake fluid and paint

AN urgent warning has been issued to parents after 200 children died in agony from cough syrup contaminated with chemicals.

Health authorities in Indonesia have linked cases of acute kidney injury in hundreds of kids, mostly aged under six, to various cough syrups.


Health authorities in Indonesia have linked acute kidney injury in hundreds of children to various cough syrupsCredit: Getty

Symptoms of the life-threatening kidney condition include stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine and headaches.

At least 199 people, mostly children, have died, sparking a probe and a ban on some liquid medicine sales, Channel News Asia reports.

Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol – chemicals usually found in brake fluid and paint – had been found in the cough syrups.

The health ministry’s spokesperson Mohammad Syahril confirmed 206 cases of acute kidney injury in children were being investigated.

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“As a precaution, the ministry has asked health workers in health facilities not to prescribe liquid medicine or syrup temporarily,” he said.

“We also ask that drug stores temporarily stop all sales of non-prescription liquid medicine or syrup until our investigations are completed.”

In October, the sale of some syrup-based medications was banned in Indonesia after ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol were found in the medicines.

A dozen Indonesian families are now suing the government and companies accused of supplying the cough syrups, according to a lawsuit.

The lawsuit targets the ministry of health, the country’s food and drug agency and seven companies involved in selling the syrups containing chemicals used products such as antifreeze.

It comes after parents were urged to throw out dangerous cough syrups after the deaths of 170 children.

The World Health Organization issued a product alert for four different cough medicines after linking four Indian-made cough syrups to a handful of child deaths who suffered acute kidney failure in The Gambia, West Africa.

The WHO warned the contaminated products may have been distributed to other countries.

It said it is “important to detect and remove these substandard products from circulation” in order to prevent harm.

In a warning to parents, WHO said: “If you have these substandard products, please DO NOT use them.

“If you, or someone you know, have used them or suffered any adverse reaction/event after use, you are advised to seek immediate medical advice from a qualified healthcare professional and report the incident to the National Regulatory Authority.”

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