Over 150 people have died in Mexico due to tainted alcohol consumption

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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, at least 159 people have died of alcohol poisoning in five states; the issue has worsened since authorities banned the sale of alcohol in some communities amid the pandemic.

So far, 70 people have died of alcohol poisoning in Puebla; 29 in Morelos; 43 in Jalisco; 15 in Yucatan, and two in Veracruz.

Every day, Mexico registers more deaths linked to methanol consumption.

In Early May, Mexican authorities confirmed 40 people died after drinking methanol in two states, the latest in a series of mass adulterated alcohol poisonings registered since COVID-19 lockdowns were implemented and many towns banned beer and liquor sales.

Methanol is a poisonous cousin of the ethanol alcohol present in normal liquors and cannot be smelled or tasted in drinks. It causes delayed organ and brain damage, and its symptoms include chest pain, nausea, hyperventilation, blindness, and even coma.

In Chiconcuautla, Puebla, Mayor Artemio Hernández said that at least 18 people had died of presumed methanol poisoning, but the city’s Facebook page put the number at 25.

The state government said it had closed the stores where the adulterated liquor was sold, and seized about 200 liters. Hernández said the suspect liquor was a little-known brand called “Refino,” which translates roughly as “very fine.”

Puebla state Interior Secretary David Méndez said the victims may have drunk the contaminated liquor at a funeral earlier this month, whereas many as 80 people gathered. Such large-scale funerals have supposedly been prohibited under physical distancing measures aimed at fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funeral of several men who drank adulterated alcohol in Yucatan, Mexico

In Morelos, inspectors seized five 20-liter-jugs of unlabeled alcohol that was believed to be the cause of 15 poisoning deaths in Telixtac and a nearby town.

In late April, 25 people died in Jalisco after drinking a cheap brand of cane alcohol known as “El Chorrito.” The outbreak sickened 77 people but 33 recovered. Almost all were men in two poor, rural communities in southern Jalisco.

A local media reported another seven people died of methanol poisoning recently in Acanceh, Yucatán.

It is unclear if the poisonings are related to the new COVID-19 lockdowns. Authorities have not said whether people drank the adulterated alcohol because legitimate liquor was unavailable or whether the economic effects of the lockdown have forced people to turn to cheaper versions.

However, according to experts, the ban of alcohol leaves in some communities put indigenous communities at risk of purchasing and drinking adulterated alcohol.

On May 26, it was reported that 10 farmers from Parras de la Fuente, Coahuila, became intoxicated after drinking methanol. One of the farmers, who was 21 years old, died on the way to the hospital. Four of them were interned in intensive care units.

The poisoning could be related to beer shortages or the banning of alcoholic beverage sales, especially in rural communities.

Those affected by methanol poisoning are between 15 and 23 years old.

A 17-year-old is now blind after consuming the adulterated drink.

In June, at least eight more people in Mexico have died from drinking alcohol adulterated with methanol, the latest alcohol poisoning incident in recent months.

On June 5, authorities in of Guerrero said the deaths occurred near the mountain city of Tlapa de Comonfort, after inhabitants drank a tequila-type drink of a little-known brand called “Rancho Escondido.”

The Guerrero Health Department said the liquor was labeled as “distilled agave,” the cactus-like plant from which both tequila and mescal are made. Because tequila production is strictly limited to certain regions, drinks made outside those areas are sometimes labeled “agave liquor.”

Health authorities said the victims were admitted to hospitals in such serious condition that they rapidly died. Authorities seized 505 bottles of the liquor from four stores in the area.

Such deaths have increased in Mexico since COVID-19 lockdowns began and many towns banned legitimate liquor sales. Many people also lost their jobs and apparently became unable to buy high-quality liquors. However, officials have not said whether the poisonings have arisen from either of those factors.

In May, authorities said as many as 40 people died after drinking methanol in two states. The suspect liquor in that case was a little-known brand called “Refino,” which translates roughly as “very fine.”

In late April, 25 people died in Jalisco after drinking a cheap brand of cane alcohol known as “El Chorrito.”

Local media reported seven people recently died of methanol poisoning Acanceh, Yucatan. And one week later, another 12 people died in the same state due to tainted alcohol consumption during “Ley Seca” (dry law).

Source: El Universal

The Mazatlan Post