Parsa Bastani, Ph.D. '22 Publishes Report with Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The recent alum and his co-authors were able to trace a mass poisoning event in The Gambia, a small West African country, using anthropological and epidemiological methods.

The report, Acute Kidney Injury Among Children Likely Associated with Diethylene Glycol–Contaminated Medications — The Gambia, June–September 2022, was released by the CDC on March 3, 2023. It states:

"On July 26, 2022, a pediatric nephrologist alerted The Gambia’s Ministry of Health (MoH) to a cluster of cases of acute kidney injury (AKI) among young children at the country’s sole teaching hospital, and on August 23, 2022, MoH requested assistance from CDC. CDC epidemiologists arrived in The Gambia, a West African country, on September 16 to assist MoH in characterizing the illness, describing the epidemiology, and identifying potential causal factors and their sources. Investigators reviewed medical records and interviewed caregivers to characterize patients’ symptoms and identify exposures. The preliminary investigation suggested that various contaminated syrup-based children’s medications contributed to the AKI outbreak. During the investigation, MoH recalled implicated medications from a single international manufacturer. Continued efforts to strengthen pharmaceutical quality control and event-based public health surveillance are needed to help prevent future medication-related outbreaks." 

Dr. Bastani voiced that the report was published using anthropological and epidemiological methods to trace the etiology of the event. It was determined that contaminated cough and paracetamol syrups imported into The Gambia caused acute kidney injury in over 70 children — some leading to death.

Reuters was among one of the many media outlets to publicize the report.

Read the CDC report