Fake rum kills seven in Cuba
Dozens hospitalised after drinking industrial methanol in Havana area
Seven Cubans have died and more than 40 have been hospitalised after drinking industrial methanol which they thought was rum.
Seven Cubans have died and more than 40 have been hospitalised after drinking industrial methanol which they thought was rum, the public health ministry said.
The poisoning happened in the La Lisa municipality of Havana, beginning on Monday, and all those killed were in their 40s and 50s, according to a list provided by the ministry. Eight people remain in a critical condition.
Such incidents are rare, though not unheard of in Cuba.
“Those affected consumed wood alcohol (industrial methanol) sold illegally,” the ministry said. Authorities suspect the drink was supplied by two individuals who work in a nearby pharmacy and food institute.
“Wood alcohol is extremely toxic and causes headaches, nausea, blindness and death,” the ministry said, urging residents to seek medical attention if they suffer from any symptoms.
Also known as methanol or methyl alcohol, wood alcohol is commonly used as a solvent in medical laboratories and as a fuel or anti-freeze.