Introduction Following a community report of unexplained sporadic deaths in immigrants of a particular Nationality X in Ajah- Ilaje Community, an investigation was conducted to determine the extent and cause.
Methods Descriptive study and laboratory analyses were done, Caregivers interviewed and hospital records reviewed. Community search and tracing was conducted. A suspect was defined as any person with Abdominal pains and vomiting resulting in death within 72 h of symptoms onset, with any of the following: impaired vision, breathlessness, spasm, foaming in the mouth, coma. Samples of suspected alcoholic gins were collected and tested for potential contaminants.
Results Between 3rd and 23rd July 2008, 21 deaths were reported to have occured among persons of Nationality X. However, only 16 were identified. Mean age was 48 years (range 27–65). Of these, 14 victims had clinical history documented; the major symptoms were Abdominal pains (11, 79%), Vomiting (6, 43%), Impaired vision (4, 36%). All 16 (100%) identified cases had consumed alcohol prior to their illness and all (100%) died. Laboratory analyses of the illicit (local) gin consumed by the victims showed presence of a number of harmful chemicals including Chloroform, 1,1,1, Trichloroethane, Cyclohexanol, Arsenous acid, Pentanol and 1,2,2 Trichloro- 1,1, Difluoro ethane.
Conclusion The source of outbreak was local illicit gin contaminated with varying concentrations of toxic agents. The outbreak was interrupted by confiscation and destruction of sources, closure of sales outlets and mass enlightenment campaigns to dissuade consumption. Indiscriminate preparation and sale of illicit gins must be disallowed.
- Alcohol poisoning
- illicit gin
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