A total of 19 deaths have been reported in Costa Rica so far. The cause of deaths is said to be the consumption of alcohol tainted with methanol.
Alcohol tainted with higher concentrations of methanol
A national alert has been issued in the country after the deaths. According to reports from the Ministry of Health, 3 deaths occurred in June and the rest this month. Seven of the deaths were reported from San Jose province, which includes the most populous city of Costa Rica, San Jose.
The deaths include 14 men and five women ranging from 32 to 72 in age. Cause of the deaths is believed to be tampered alcohol. But the Ministry of Health has said that the information on deaths is preliminary and the investigation is still going on.
Sample tests were conducted for many alcohol brands and some were found positive for methanol poisoning. Methanol is a poisonous compound found in solvents and antifreeze. Around 30,000 bottles of the methanol poisoned alcohol brands have already been confiscated by the government.
Alcohol brands found to be tainted
The suspected brands include Guaro Montano, Guaro Gran Apache, Aguardiente Timbuka and Molotov Aguardiente. People have been warned against consuming alcohol from these brands. Vendors selling the brands can face criminal sanctions.
Trace amounts of methanol are often found in fermented drinks. But higher concentrations are very dangerous for health, even leading to death. This alcohol is more toxic than ethanol which is the typical drinking alcohol. According to SafeProof, an organization that lobbies against counterfeit alcohol, sellers add methanol to distilled liquor so as to increase the volume of liquid. It also increases the potential potency of liquor.
Symptoms of methanol poisoning…
People are being made aware of the symptoms of methanol poisoning. The symptoms include acute abdominal pain, headache, dizziness, confusion, and lack of coordination in body movements. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these symptoms appear after a long time of methanol consumption. So, victims often seek medical help after a delay.