Singapore has extended restrictions on home entertainment gadgets for two years and increased fines for those found in violation as it reports the country’s most deadly instance of a chemical that causes vomiting and diarrhea, typically among children.
The country bans liquids or liquids that can be sold in loose container bottles, said the Health Sciences Authority, the government agency that works to ensure the health and well-being of Singapore’s seven million citizens. It said via its website that this ban would be in effect through 2025.
Fines for those found in violation would increase to S$4,000 ($3,030) in 2019 from the current S$2,500, the agency said on its website. The ban includes liquids that look like household cleaners, cosmetics, products intended for food preparation, and large containers, such as C- bottles.
The HSA said in late November that the country had reported its highest-ever number of deaths from a chemical commonly known as acetaminophen, commonly known as acetaminophen acetate or acetaminophen. The chemical is most commonly used to treat pain, fever and body aches. It was found in “an unknown number” of people who went into anaphylactic shock, had a severe respiratory distress and died of a lupus. The exact number of deaths that were reported was not released.
A preliminary investigation found that people who had consumed crushed pills, as opposed to pills dissolved in water, tended to die, the agency said in a separate statement. The agency found that as well as acetaminophen, citric acid in specific quantities was found in people who died. The reason behind the chemical combinations was not determined.
Singaporeans reported buying tens of thousands of the aconite pills online between May and November, the agency said in its earlier statement.
Acacia citratus aciside, also known as Ac-cit-5, Ac-cit-4, Ac-cit-6 and, brand-name, is produced from a plant species that is poisonous in some parts of India, Pakistan and Cambodia, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The drug doesn’t easily break down, the agency noted, and it spreads through a chemical process, which it says can occur when people mix acacia citratus aciside with consumer products.
According to the ministry of health, this disease is rare and passed from person to person rather than directly from product to person. It is similar to gastrointestinal flu, like cholera and typhoid fever, and can be fatal.
“Infection with acacia citratus aciside can be life-threatening due to a life-threatening inflammatory disorder with no known treatment. Hence, it is strongly advised to prevent exposure to this chemical and to use caution when consuming it,” the ministry noted.
The ministry said patients should see a doctor before treating themselves with acacia citratus aciside or other drugs for this condition, or by treating other symptoms.
At least five new patients had contacted the ministry with acacials that appear to be three years old or older, the agency said.
The drug had found at an importer laboratory as recently as April 2019, it said. The government could revoke its manufacture license for such a treatment.
A ministry spokesperson declined to provide additional details when reached on Thursday.
Staying safe: In the most recent case, the HSA said, the many guests had consumed liquid alcohol and the tourists in three rooms of the same hotel were said to have all passed out within 24 hours.
The health authority said it continues to work closely with medical facilities to improve care and improve education about using the medication appropriately.
A handbook on acetaminophen acetate is available on the agency’s website.