July 19, 2011

Alcohol Ban In Ecuador After Homemade Liquor Kills 21

Liquor sales were suspended in Ecuador for 72-hours after 21 people died from drinking homemade aguardiente made with methanol.

A press conference, which included Health Minister David Chiriboga and Security Minister Homero Arellan, was held on Sunday to announce a nationwide ban on alcohol sales. In addition, a national health emergency was declared.

Police have confiscated 28 containers in Los Rios province, where most of the deaths have occurred. Some of the containers were reported to house methanol, a toxic alcohol, officials say.

FoxNews Latino reports that according to the Public Health Ministry, an analysis has found that the liquor consumed on a massive scale during festivities in Los Rios contained methanol.

However, the Ministry also warned that the homemade alcohol might be sold in other areas of the country.

The public was urged by Chiriboga to seek help if they experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bodily pain, affected eyesight, convulsions, changes in mental function, or gasping for breath.

Chiriboga also recommended that any homemade booze should be discarded.

So far, one arrest has been made in connection with the sale of the tainted liquor, says the police.