Ecuador Bans Alcohol After 21 Die from Bootleg Booze
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Ecuador authorities announced a national health emergency and a 72-hour ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol after a batch of bootlegged liquor containing methanol killed 21 people. Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is used as antifreeze and is toxic to drink. Local hospitals have treated over a hundred people for alcohol poisoning over the past few days. Cases of alcohol poisoning have shown up in at least five provinces throughout the country. Ecuadorian Health Minister David Chiriboga urged the public to seek treatment if they experience vomiting, bodily pain, or difficulty breathing.
The emergency began in the Los Rios province when large amounts of the liquor were widely consumed during a town festival. Local authorities have shut down bars and instituted a curfew. The alcohol was sold in unmarked bottles without any indication of the contents. Authorities have confiscated dozens of 55-gallon containers of the liquor, and continue to urge people to throw out any homemade booze they may have. One person associated with the sale has been arrested, but investigations continue.