Almost a month after Costa Rica released a national alert to warn residents and visitors of 19 deaths caused by counterfeit alcohol, that already shocking death toll has now risen to 25. Beyond that, a total of 59 people have been affected by the products.
A press release from the Ministry of Health’s website previously stated that 19 men and 6 women–with ages ranging from 32 to 72–died due to alcohol poisoning since June. An earlier list of brands to avoid includes Guaro Montano, Guaro Gran Apache, Aguardiente Estrella, Aguardiente Barón Rojo, Aguardiente Timbuka and Molotov Aguardiente.
Now, a month later, a newer list advises people against Guaro Chonete, Guaro Cuerazo, Guaro Sacheto, Red Star Brandy, Brandy Red Barnacle, Brandy Timbuka and Brandy Molotov. Authorities believe these types of alcohol may have also been affected and should, therefore, be avoided.
The Ministry of Health has shut down 10 establishments in response to the outbreak, along seizing over 55,000 containers of alcohol–a figure that’s up from 30,000 in July.
They seize product that they believe to be laced with methanol, which is found in antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid. According to Yahoo News, adding methanol to distilled beverages can increase volume and potency. Safe proof went on to add that ingesting even a small amount can be lethal. As for symptoms from methanol poisoning, some of the more severe ones include headaches, dizziness, blindness, and death.
This scary news in Costa Rica follows a series of U.S. tourists deaths in the Dominican Republic this year, which might also be linked to toxic alcohol.
According to reports from Newsweek, the country has started to conduct semi-annual food and beverage investigations at a number of their hotels and resorts. The FBI is also currently running toxicology tests on a pair of American tourists who died there earlier this year.