Following an outbreak of an illness believed to be food poisoning in Kano state, two people have died and 167 people have been hospitalised.
The state ministry of health announced that the infected patients had haematuria, which causes bloody or dark urine, fever, lethargy, and sometimes jaundice.
It was believed that the patients drank expired citric acid powdered beverages.
Aliyu Mohammed, coordinator of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) sector 4 headquarters, joint border patrol unit in the north-west, had raised the alarm that expired citric acid beverages were in circulation.
He said the products are common in the market given that Ramadan is around the corner.
He said they seized 84 cartons of the products which have expired since 2019.
“Fasting will soon come. The people now have the habit of importing very expired items. These are the flavours. Any man who performs his fasting in the evening will like something very delicious but these things have expired since 2019,” Mohammed said.
“We have arrested about 624 pieces in each carton and we have 84 cartons.”
Bashir Lawan, an epidemiologist in the state ministry of health, told reporters on Tuesday that “these symptoms are classical of ongoing haemolysis (breakage of red blood cells) and bleeding”.
He said the index case was a six-year old girl recorded on March 6, 2021.
“We initially suspected viral haemorrhagic fever but the test results came back from the National Reference Laboratory as negative for Yellow fever and Lassa fever. But we are still awaiting the test of Dengue fever,” Lawan said.
The state government has issued a list of hospitals where patients affected by this epidemic will be treated.
Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital, and Infectious Disease Hospital are among the hospitals.
Sheikh Jidda Hospital, Waziri Shehu Gidado Hospital, Rano General Hospital, and two hospitals in Dawakin Tofa Local Government are among the others.
According to Lawal, the epidemic has spread to eight local government areas (LGAs), including Gwale, Kano Municipal, Dala, Bunkure, Fagge, Gwarzo, and Dawakin Tofa.
He also claimed that a water sample was taken from the bore-hole at Dandolo Cemetery for study in order to rule out other possible causes of the outbreak.
He went on to state that they have about three samples of expired powdered mixed-fruit and citric acid powder with NAFDAC for laboratory testing to validate the connection to either expired ingredients or preservatives, and that four additional samples were taken for heavy metals and leptospirosis screening, among other technical response activities.
According to a source, “their men are currently running shop-to-shop operations in the sector.”