Adulterated liquor kills 29 in Ecuador

Quito, July 23 (IANS/EFE) The number of people who died in Ecuador after consuming adulterated liquor has climbed to 29, the public health ministry said.

A total of 177 people have been treated since the first cases were reported last week. Of those, 124 were found to have been poisoned by the tainted booze while the other cases were still under investigation.

The adulterated liquor contained methanol, which can be fatal when consumed in quantities ranging from between 60-250 cubic cm (between two and eight ounces).

The area with the highest number of deaths remains the western province of Los Rios, with 20.

But the fatalities reported in recent days were in other parts of the country, indicating that adulterated liquor was widely distributed.

Four deaths announced Thursday occurred in the provinces of Tungurahua, Azuay, Manabi and Guayas.

A law prohibiting sale and consumption of alcohol is currently in effect only in Los Rios, while a state of exception remains in force nationwide to give police and the armed forces increased authority to seize liquor and make arrests.

IANS