Following several deaths in Rivers and Ondo States due to food poisoning linked to the consumption of local gin, better known as Kai-kai or Ogogoro, with lethal doses of Methanol, the federal government yesterday banned the consumption of unregistered locally made gin.
Reacting to the death of 38 persons in Rivers State, the government said the deaths in Rivers and that of Ode-Irele, in Ondo State, were associated with the consumption of locally made gin.
Addressing journalists, the Director General of National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii said, “preliminary investigation by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) ruled out any infectious diseases and confirmed the possibility of poisoning as the cause of the deaths and in turn advised NAFDAC to conduct further investigations”.
“The symptoms suffered by victims included vomiting, abdominal pain, blurred vision, headache, dizziness and loss of consciousness with subsequent sudden deaths of 18 victims,” Orhii said.
Orhii, who was joined at the briefing by NCDC Director, Prof. Abdulrahman Nasidi, explained that all indications showed that “these symptoms are the hallmark signs of methanol poisoning”.
The NAFDAC DG further stated that the “results of the laboratory investigation revealed methanol toxicity. Five samples were found to contain high concentration of methanol in them”.
“Blood methanol concentration above 1500-2000mg/L will certainly lead to death in untreated patients,” he said.
The NAFDAC boss said considering the high risk associated with the consumption of locally made gin, it has become imperative to warn the public to desist from the consumption of unregistered locally made spirits (Ogogoro) and other unregistered bitters.
Orhii also warned that government would confiscate all illegally brewed alcoholic beverages across the country. He said there was also need for “immediate reporting and evacuation to the nearest tertiary health institution whenever poisoning occurs, as quick intervention can save lives”.
Published: 09 Jun 2015. By ThisDay
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