By OKECHUKWU PEACE
The Director-General of National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, Dr. Paul Orhii, has declared the consumption of Ogogoro ss unsafe.
He told journalists that the recent incidents in Rivers and Ondo states were associated with the consumption of locally made gin.
The government however confirmed that the death toll in Rivers State had risen to 38 while 18 people had died in Ode-Irele, Ondo State, following the consumption of the local gin.
According to him, considering the risk in 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.”
He also warned that the government “would confiscate all illegally brewed alcoholic beverages” across the country.
Orhii, who also recommended “immediate reporting and evacuation of victims to the nearest tertiary health institution as quick intervention can save lives,” said the NAFDAC team met with the Ondo State Commissioner for Health and Director of Diagnostic Services and an official of the World Health Organisation, who visited Ode-Irele to obtain first-hand information.
He also said, “A preliminary investigation by the National Centre for Disease Control and WHO, ruled out any infectious diseases and confirmed the possibility of poisoning as the cause, and in turn, advised NAFDAC to conduct further investigation.
“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, who was joined by the Director of NCDC, Prof. Abdulrahman Nasidi, explained that all indications showed that “these symptoms are the hallmark signs of methanol poisoning.”
“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,” the NAFDAC DG said.