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POLICE

Update: Mother and baby die after taking medicine from Cologne pharmacy

Police released details Tuesday about a 28-year-old woman and her new born baby who died last week as a result of taking medicine from a pharmacy in Cologne.

Update: Mother and baby die after taking medicine from Cologne pharmacy
Police have warned that medicine containing glucose from the store should be brought to the nearest police station. Photo: DPA

The baby was born via an emergency cesarean section after the mother took a glucose mixture produced in the Heilig-Geist-Apotheke in the Cologne district of Longerich.

Another woman dealt with complications after consuming the same medicine, but stopped taking the mixture. Both cases were reported by a doctor last Thursday.

Police revealed at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that the pregnant woman died of multiple organ failure. Though doctors attempted to save her baby by performing the emergency C-section, the newborn also died.

Possibly still in circulation

A toxic substance has been discovered within the glucose container at the pharmacy, and they cannot rule out the possibility of the poisonous substance still being in circulation.

Though the public were first warned about the poisonous solution on Monday, there have been no further reports so far of anyone having glucose from the affected pharmacy at home.

According to police spokesperson Ralf Remmert, the glucose solution was sold as a test for gestational diabetes (high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy and usually disappears after giving birth).

These tests are carried out as standard procedure during pregnancy, according to the German Diabetes Society.

'I am stunned'

The owner of the pharmacy Till Fuxius told DPA that the deaths are a mystery, “I am stunned. I cannot explain it”.

The pharmacist is relying on the police investigation to provide answers, “I am a witness, not accused”.

For the time being, Cologne authorities have banned this particular pharmacy from selling self-manufactured medicines.

Investigators have warned against taking glucose-based medicines that were made by the branch as the police look further into the case.

“We are continuing to investigate at full speed,” said a police spokesperson on Tuesday morning.

However, he could currently not say whether the Cologne homicide commission, who have taken on the investigation, had been notified of other cases.

Police and city authorities stress that patients with medicine containing glucose from this pharmacy branch should hand them into the nearest police station. 

At the moment, other pharmacy branches do not seem to be affected.

On Tuesday morning, the Heilig-Geist-Apotheke remained in operation, reported RP Online.

Many of the current customers seemed unaware of the investigation, stated the newspaper. “If that's the case, then I find it highly unsettling,” said an older customer.

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HEALTH

Sweden records world’s first case of bird flu in a porpoise

A porpoise found stranded on a Swedish beach in June died of bird flu, the first time the virus has been detected in one of the marine mammals, Sweden's National Veterinary Institute said on Wednesday.

Sweden records world's first case of bird flu in a porpoise

“As far as we know this is the first confirmed case in the world of bird flu in a porpoise,” veterinarian Elina Thorsson said in a statement. “It is likely that the porpoise somehow came into contact with infected birds,” she said.

The young male was found stranded, alive, on a beach in western Sweden in late June. Despite efforts from the public to get it to swim out to deeper
waters, it was suffering from exhaustion and died the same evening.

The bird flu virus, H5N1, was found in several of its organs. “Contrary to seals, where illnesses caused by a flu virus have been detected multiple times, there have been only a handful of reports of flu virus in cetaceans”, Thorsson said.

The virus has also previously been detected in other mammals, including red foxes, otters, lynx and skunks, the institute said.

Europe and North America are currently seeing a vast outbreak of bird flu among wild birds.

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