Cuba: 7 dead after drinking illicit methyl alcohol

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Associated Press

Posted on July 31, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 31 at 1:33 PM

HAVANA (AP) — Cuban state television says at least seven people have died of poisoning after consuming methyl alcohol and 41 others remain hospitalized.

A Health Ministry report read out on the afternoon news says numerous people began showing up at Havana emergency rooms Monday exhibiting symptoms of "serious poisoning."

It was determined that they had consumed illegal methyl alcohol, also called methanol or "wood alcohol," which is used in labs and research centers. Methanol is highly toxic for humans and can result in death or permanent health problems, including blindness.

The health ministry said Wednesday that the victims bought the deadly booze from a black-market merchant who procured it from two pharmaceutical employees.

Eight of the 41 people hospitalized are in serious condition.

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