Czech Methanol Poisonings: Toll Hits 30
The Czech CTK news agency has reported that the death toll in a wave of poisoning from methanol-tainted alcohol in the Czech Republic rose to 30 on Friday.
On October 3, he was admitted to hospital in Brno, a major city about 200 kilometres east of the capital Prague, after drinking the Tuzemak-brand of Czech rum he had purchased for an unusually low price at a gas station, police in the city said.
Tuzemak-branded bootlegged spirits have been at the centre of methanol poisonings that have seen at least 85 Czechs and four Slovaks hospitalised since September.
Two men suspected of masterminding the bootleg operation face up to life in prison if found guilty. A total 52 people are under investigation for complicity in the lethal poisonings.
Following the arrests, the Czech government eased a ban on sales of spirits with alcohol content over 20 percent produced before January 1, 2012.
The Czech health ministry has repeatedly warned consumers to avoid drinking alcohol of unknown provenance.
The Czech case is the worst of its kind in Europe since 2001 when 68 people died over the space of a few days after drinking a lethal concoction of methanol-tainted bootleg alcohol.