Tainted alcohol believed to be the cause of 19 deaths in Costa Rica

Nineteen Costa Ricans have died since June from what the country’s Ministry of Health suspects is tainted alcohol.

They believe the cause is methanol poisoning, but the ministry stressed that the information is “preliminary as investigations continue.”

The deaths began slowly with three in June and increased rapidly to 16 so far in July.

Fourteen men and five women between the ages of 32 and 72 have died so far.

Some 30,000 bottles of several alcohol brands including Guaro Montano, Guaro Gran Apache, Star Welsh, Aguardiente Barón Rojo, Aguardiente Timbuka and Aguardiente Molotov have been confiscated by the ministry in an attempt to reduce consumers’ exposure.

Trace amounts of methanol are common in fermented drinks, but higher concentrations can be deadly.

Some of the symptoms individuals with methanol poisoning may experience are acute abdominal pain, acute headache and lack of coordination of body movements.


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