Tainted alcohol kills 19 in Costa Rica


The Ministry of Health in Costa Rica has issued a national alert after nineteen people died from consuming alcohol tainted with toxic levels of methanol.

The victims consist of fourteen men and five women ranging from 32 to 72 years old from several cities across the country since the beginning of June.

The government seized up to 30,000 bottles of alcohol from different brands suspected to be tainted.

The Ministry of Health advised against consuming alcohol from a number of brands because samples had tested positive for methanol adulteration.

Adulterated liquor often contains methanol, which intoxicates people. Sellers are able to increase the amount of liquid and its potential potency by adding methanol to refined spirits.

Methanol poisoning can cause dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and confusions as well as inability to coordinate muscle movements. Even small amounts can be toxic.

According to the World Health Organization, WHO, outbreaks of methanol poisoning are usually linked to “adulterated counterfeit or informally-produced spirit drinks.”

In recent years outbreaks have hit countries around the world, each ranging in size from 20 to over 800 victims, WHO reports.

This year, at least 154 people have died and more than 200 others were hospitalized after drinking tainted alcohol in India. The victims consumed unregulated moonshine, known as “country-made liquor” in the northeast state of Assam.

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