Page last updated at 12:44 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 13:44 UK

Bangladesh probing child deaths

By Mark Dummett
BBC News, Dhaka

Dhaka map

Authorities in Bangladesh say they are investigating why at least 20 infants have died recently of kidney failure.

The children were all aged between 11 months and three years and doctors say they suspect that they had all taken contaminated paracetamol.

They say initial tests reveal that the medicine contained diethylene glycol, a poisonous industrial solvent, which resembles a chemical, used in the drug.

Doctors say they suspect the solvent was used because it was cheaper.

The children, who have all died in the last six weeks, mostly came from poor rural communities.

Doctors say they had all took a local brand of liquid paracetamol.

Bangladeshi health officials say they believe that diethylene glycol was also responsible for the deaths of more than 200 people in the 1990s who also died of kidney failure after taking contaminated medicine.

Investigators are now trying to discover the source of the drug, and whether any more children are in danger.

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