KANO, Nigeria

At least three people died and over 183 were hospitalized in the northwestern city of Kano after taking expired and poisonous fruit drinks, officials said Tuesday.

The Kano State commissioner for health, Dr. Aminu Ibrahim Tsanyawa, said the outbreak has spread to about 13 local government areas.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Tsanyawa said the incident occurred when the patients took expired citric acid powdered drinks.

He said the outbreak affected 284 people, adding 101 have been discharged from hospitals while 183 patients are currently receiving treatment.

The official said the ministry taskforce seized expired items that caused the outbreak worth over 59 million Naira ($143,993).

Meanwhile, the Kano State Health Ministry said the affected patients showed symptoms of hematuria which causes bloody urine, fever, lethargy, and sometimes yellowness of the eyes (jaundice).

Dr. Bashir Lawal, an epidemiologist in the Health Ministry, told reporters on Tuesday that “these symptoms are classical examples of hemolysis (breakage of red blood cells) and bleeding.”

“We initially suspected viral hemorrhagic fever, but the test results came back negative for yellow fever and Lassa fever. But we are still awaiting the test result of dengue fever.”

The state government has provided a list of hospitals designated for the patients affected by this outbreak. The hospitals include Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital, Infectious Disease Hospital, Sheikh Jidda Hospital, Waziri Shehu Gidado Hospital, Rano General Hospital and two hospitals in Dawakin Tofa local government area.

Dr. Lawal explained that the outbreak has spread to eight local governments, including Gwale, Kano Municipal, Dala, Bunkure, Fagge, Gwarzo and Dawakin Tofa.

He said a water sample was also being analyzed, adding three samples of expired fruit drinks were being tested to confirm the poisoning link to either expired ingredients or preservatives.

The State Consumer Protection Council is also investigating the circumstances that led to the poisoning.

An official source told Anadolu Agency on anonymity that “officials are currently conducting a shop-to-shop operation in the market,” adding expired products were brought into the Singer market in the state as the holy month of Ramadan approaches.

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