Tainted alcohol kills at least 19 in Costa Rica, health officials say

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At least 19 people have died since early June after drinking alcohol tainted with methanol in Costa Rica, prompting a national alert and widening the focus on the problem of bootleg liquor in Latin America.

The Costa Rican Health Ministry said in a preliminary report on Friday it counted 14 men and five women, ranging in age from 32 to 72, who’ve died after drinking adulterated liquor.

“The Ministry of Health continues to carry out operations throughout the national territory in order to reduce the exposure of consumers to adulterated products,” the ministry said.

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Six of the deaths were reported in San José, one in Heredia, four in Cartago, two in Guanacaste and one in Limón, according to the health department, which added three of the fatalities are still under investigation.

Government officials have so far seized around 30,000 bottles from brands suspected of containing methanol, with names includintg “Aguardiente Molotov” and “Guaro Gran Apache.” Aguardiente translates to English as “fire water.” Both it and guaro are traditionally distilled from sugar cane. – READ MORE

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