CDC: Nigerian lead poisoning outbreak ‘unprecedented’ as doctors struggle to help ill childrenBy AP
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
CDC: Nigeria lead poisoning crisis ‘unprecedented’
GUSAU, Nigeria — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a recent outbreak of lead poisoning in northern Nigeria is “unprecedented,” as doctors struggle to save the young children most affected.
A CDC spokeswoman says the severity of the poisonings, the number of deaths and illnesses and the extent of environmental damage is unheard of. Meanwhile, an emergency coordinator for aid group Doctors Without Borders says they have treated children exposed to so much lead that it has left them deaf, blind and unable to walk.
More than 160 people have already died from lead poisoning after residents tried to dig illegally for gold in areas with high lead concentration in Nigeria’s Zamfara state, near the nation’s border with Niger.