By Ralph Christopher
At least four persons have been confirmed dead and 189 others on treatment for poisoning from consuming an expired juice drink in Kano.
The chairperson of the committee on infectious diseases outbreak in Kano, Bashir Lawal, disclosed this to reporters on Tuesday.
Earlier on Monday, the National Agency for Food Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said the poison came from expired satchet water and a locally produced juice drink.
Mr. Lawal said the incident came to notice on Thursday after hundreds of persons in Kano metropolis were hospitalised with cases of frequent vomiting, joint dizziness and blood in urination.
He said two of the deaths were recorded at a health facility while the other two infected persons died at home.
Health officials initially thought the disease was a lassa fever outbreak. However, subsequent laboratory examination revealed a case of food poisoning, Mr Lawal, a medical doctor, said.
The official said so far, 189 persons have been confirmed poisoned by the drink and are receiving treatment at various infectious diseases control centres across the state.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that there is fear of unreported deaths across the state after many low income residents resorted to consuming uncertified products due to hot weather in northern Nigeria’s most populous city.
The state’s Ministry of Health said it had expanded its treatment centres to health facilities across the local councils as the figure of infected persons surged.
Mr Lawal said the emergency had spread to about eight local council areas, as the state government was taking measures to prevent further spread.
Meanwhile, the state’s consumer protection agency said it had apprehended four persons in connection to the distribution of the poisonous drink.
The acting Managing Director of the consumer protection agency, Baffa Babba-Da’agundi, said the agency bursted a warehouse in Minjibir Local Government Area where the drink was being kept for distribution.
Reacting to the development, the state’s coordinator for NAFDAC, Shaba Muhammad, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Kano that the samples were referred to its laboratory in Kaduna for analysis.
Mr Muhammad said the agency received a report of manifestation of a strange disease suspected to be caused by drinking sachet water and locally processed drinks in the metropolis.
“Reports indicated that the infection involves sachet water and local drinks suspected to be prepared with expired and adulterated products.
“We collected samples of the suspected water and the products for analysis to establish the cause of the disease,” the official was quoted as saying.