QUITO – The number of people who have died in Ecuador after consuming adulterated liquor has climbed to 29 after four more fatalities were announced, the Public Health Ministry said.
A total of 177 people have been treated since the first cases were reported last week. Of those, 124 were found to have been poisoned by the tainted booze while the other cases are still under investigation.
Those figures indicate that the fatality rate is 23 percent, the ministry said in a statement.
The adulterated liquor contained methanol, which can be fatal when consumed in quantities ranging from between 60-250 cubic centimeters (between two and eight ounces).
Authorities called special attention to the situation in the central province of Tungurahua, where the ministry said authorities had detected the presence of methanol in a locally produced wine with the brand name Tentador.
The area with the highest number of deaths remains the western province of Los Rios, with 20, but the fatalities reported in recent days were in other parts of the country, indicating the adulterated liquor was widely distributed.
The four deaths announced Thursday occurred in the provinces of Tungurahua, Azuay, Manabi and Guayas.
A dry law prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcohol is currently in effect only in Los Rios, while a state of exception remains in force nationwide to give police and the armed forces increased authority to seize liquor and make arrests. EFE