The death toll has risen to 25 due to alcohol laced with poisonous methanol in Costa Rica, according to reports.
Officials said 59 people have been hospitalized and 10 bars were closed down. Reports state that almost 55,000 containers of alcohol have been seized by authorities.
Reports said the victims include 19 men and six women with ages ranging from 32 to 72. Seven of those people died in the capital, San José, the Daily Mail reported.
“Of the deceased there are 19 men and six women, aged between 32 and 72, who died seven in San José, one in Alajuela, two in Heredia, five in Cartago, three in Guanacaste, one in Puntarenas, four in Limón and two that are still under investigation,” the ministry said.
Costa Rica’s Ministry of Health said in a statement that the containers seized were laced with the colorless liquid that is commonly found in antifreeze. By adding methanol to distilled beverages, sellers can increase the volume of liquid and the overall potency of the alcohol.
The list of tainted alcohol brands includes: Guaro Chonete, Guaro Cuerazo, Guaro Sacheto, Red Star Brandy, Brandy Red Barnacle, Brandy Timbuka, Brandy Molotov, Guaro Montano, Guaro Gran Apache, Aguardiente Estrella, Aguardiente Baron Rojo, Aguardiente Timbuka and Molotov Aguardiente.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website stated that symptoms of methanol poisoning include confusion, headache, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
On July 22, Breitbart News reported that the Ministry of Health was investigating the 19 deaths documented earlier that month that were linked to methanol poisoning.
“The Ministry of Health is carrying out the actions to reduce the exposure of consumers to the products adulterated, as well as related investigations, in coordination with other institutions, to determine the subjects related to this adulteration,” the ministry said, adding that “Individuals or companies who are marketing adulterated alcoholic beverages are exposed to a variety of both administrative and criminal penalties.”