Indonesia says child deaths from acute kidney injury rise to 133

Indonesia’s food and drug agency ordered three drug manufacturers to withdraw five brands of syrups from circulation. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - Indonesia’s Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said on Friday that child deaths caused by acute kidney injury (AKI) in the country have risen to 133 from the previously reported 99.

The deaths come from a total of 241 cases in 22 provinces, the minister said.

Indonesia has formed an expert team to look into the AKI spike among children, comprised of local health and paediatric officials and World Health Organisation (WHO) representatives.

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) ordered three drug manufacturers to withdraw five brands of fever, cough and flu syrups from circulation and destroy the stocks, following its finding that they contained ethylene glycol in an amount that exceeds the safe limit.

However, it noted that the result still does not lead to a conclusion that these products are causing the acute kidney injuries and that apart from drug use, other factors, such as viral and bacterial infections, may have contributed to the injuries.

Ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol were found in the four Indian-made cough syrups that caused the deaths of nearly 70 children in Gambia. Both substances are usually added as solubility enhancers in cough syrups. REUTERS

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