First Methanol Poisoning Victims in Slovakia; 21 Dead in Czech R.
The kind of illegal poisonous alcohol that has already killed 21 people in the Czech Republic (38 more still hospitalised) and led to the Czech government prohibiting the sale of strong spirits throughout the country, has now been found also in Slovakia as four people in the Presov region have been poisoned.
Fortunately, the alcohol consumed by the four people had a lower content of the killer methanol (methyl alcohol) than that found in the Czech Republic and so they are expected to recover with no permanent disability. The four victims were among those at a private birthday party where the ‘slivovica’ alcohol had been bought from the Czech Republic over the internet.
The Public health authority and the health minister Zuzana Zvolenska are saying there is no need for panic and no extreme measures have been imposed to restrict the sale of alcohol, with people being merely advised to take care about drinking alcohol where the origin might be in question, which could potentially mean also in bars, as was the case in the Czech Republic.
The Czech police are obviously doing what they can to get to the bottom of the contaminated alcohol, with one possibility being that it comes from anti-freeze mixtures from Poland used in windscreen washing fluid. In 2010 the EU allowed the use of methanol in place of ethanol for economic reasons, but tens of people have died of poisoning in Poland since (22 last year alone), as the liquid is used for bootleg alcohol.