Local Cane Alcohol Poisons 77 People, Kills 25 in Mexico
The Mexican Ministry of Health announced the death of another alcohol poisoning victim in the western part of the nation on Tuesday.
Authorities reported a batch of tainted alcohol killed 25 unsuspecting victims. Nineteen victims are still receiving medical treatment in the hospital.
Jalisco's state government released a statement where they revealed a high-proof liquor involved in the alcohol poisoning outbreak was contaminated with a toxic substance known as methanol.
There are varying accounts as to where the bad liquor originated. According to the state government, they have been investigating a distiller based in the capital city. The distiller is said to be the maker of a cheap brand of cane alcohol "El Chorrito."
The federal health safety commission blamed local "punches," eggnogs, and liqueurs. These are often produced by adding fruit, and other flavoring products to commercial alcohol.
Both versions, however, hold some level of truth. The locals based their liquor concoctions on the suspect cane alcohol.
Authorities said the first reported victims lived in Mazamitla and Tamazula. They were alerted to the outbreak on Saturday.
A 66-year-old woman died from poisoning while another was confined at the local hospital. Thirty other victims are men ages 20 to 80.
Methanol-laced cane alcohol sickened over 77 people. More than 30 have made a full recovery. Almost all victims live in impoverished, rural townships.
Investigators seized over 3,000 liters of alcohol. Authorities are still combing the Mazamitla and Tamazula area in an effort to take away any remaining lots of the liquor which is being sold in plastic bottles.
Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, is a chemical commonly used for industrial purposes, including fuel for factories and electricity generators.
The highly versatile chemical is the base material in acrylic plastics, synthetic fabrics, and fibers used to make clothes. It is also used to create adhesives, paint, and construction materials. As a chemical agent, it is used by pharmaceutical and agrichemical companies.
Methanol is a known fuel resource found in rechargeable batteries, solar cells, and engine generators.
Methanol is a type of alcohol that causes poisoning when ingested. It is found in antifreeze, de-icing fluid, varnish, paint remover, and canned heating sources.
When taken, victims may experience difficulty in breathing or loss of the ability to breathe. It can also cause blurred vision, dilation of the pupils, and partial or complete blindness.
Methanol is known to lower blood pressure and trigger agitated behavior, confusion, headaches, nausea, and difficulty walking. In worse cases, victims may fall into a comatose state.
Severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, liver problems, pancreatitis, and throwing up blood are also common symptoms of methanol poisoning.
Health care providers often give poisoned patients activated charcoal as well as antidotes like fomepizole and ethanol to reverse the effects. It is not advised to force a victim to throw up unless a medical professional or a Poison Control expert says so.
It is also important to call for help and receive proper medical attention as soon as possible. The rapid removal of methanol is the key to a successful treatment. However, people who survive will most likely need dialysis.
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