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Page last updated at 19:42 GMT, Sunday, 21 September 2008 20:42 UK

'Thousands ill' due to China milk

Children are checked in hospital

Nearly 13,000 children in China have been hospitalised due to tainted Chinese milk powder, officials say.

China's health ministry said 104 out of 12,892 babies showed serious symptoms.

Four infants have died after drinking the milk of the Sanlu Group containing the industrial chemical melamine, which could cause urinary problems.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, a toddler has been diagnosed with a kidney stone after drinking the powder - the first such case outside mainland China.

A number of Asian and African countries have now banned Chinese dairy imports following the scandal.

Chinese police have arrested 18 people in connection with the scandal.

Premier's pledge

At a regular news briefing in Beijing, officials from the Chinese health ministry said 12,892 infants were currently being treated in hospitals around the country.

Chinese customers queue to return suspect milk powder brands purchased at a supermarket in Hefei, Anhui province on 19/09/08
Chinese and Hong Kong authorities have recalled tainted products

They said that 1,579 babies had been treated and discharged, adding that hospitals had checked nearly 40,000 baby patients.

Meanwhile, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said that the authorities were doing everything possible to "prevent this happening again, not just with milk products, but with all foods".

In Hong Kong, a three-year-old girl was diagnosed with a kidney stone after drinking Chinese milk powder, the government said.

It said the toddler, who had drunk China's Yili milk every day for 15 months, had not developed kidney disease and had been discharged from hospital.

Melamine was first found in baby milk powder made by the Sanlu Group. In total, melamine has been found in products made by 22 companies, including Yili.

Suppliers are believed to have added melamine, a banned chemical normally used in plastics, to diluted milk to make it appear higher in protein.

The additive is blamed for causing severe renal problems and kidney stones.


SEE ALSO
China tainted milk scandal widens
19 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Bitter taste over China baby milk
17 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Hong Kong recalls dairy products
18 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific
China arrests 12 in milk scandal
18 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Chinese to tighten dairy testing
17 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Chinese baby milk toll escalates
17 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Anger over China milk scandal
17 Sep 08 |  Asia-Pacific

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