About 29 others have fallen ill after consuming the drink that contained a "high concentration" of methanol used "as an additive to liquid fuels", officials of western state of Jalisco say.

It's not clear whether it was a misguided efforts to ward off the new coronavirus.
It's not clear whether it was a misguided efforts to ward off the new coronavirus. (AFP)

Some 21 people have died and 13 others have been seriously injured in the Mexican state of Jalisco after ingesting contaminated liquor, regional authorities said on Wednesday.  

In total, 56 people have been affected in two municipalities in the western state since Saturday, state health official Huge Esparza said during a press conference, including the 21 who have died and 29 who have become ill.

The 13 who became seriously ill were transported via helicopter to hospitals in Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco, while the rest were discharged, Esparza said.  

On Saturday, patients began presenting with "symptoms of blurred vision and/or vision loss, intense abdominal pain, difficulty breathing and convulsions," he said.

Liquor contained methanol

They had ingested a form of cane alcohol purer than that made for drinking that was manufactured in neighboring Michoacan state.

Some 700 litres of the liquor were seized over the following days.

Laboratory tests showed the liquor contained a "high concentration" of methanol used "as an additive to liquid fuels," according to another Jalisco health official, Denis Santiago.

"This chemical agent is for industrial use," he said.

One other person was affected in Michoacan, though Jalisco authorities did not provide details on their condition.

Coronavirus-related cases?

There have been misguided efforts to ward off the new coronavirus by drinking bootleg alcohol in Iran that's killed over 700 people there in the last three months. 

Last week, US President Donald Trump’s musings on whether injecting disinfectants might treat Covid-19 horrified medical professionals and raised fresh concerns that his stream-of-consciousness briefings could push frightened people to poison themselves with untested treatments.

Source: AFP