Methanol Drinking kills five in Lae
FIVE youths are confirmed dead and 11 others recovering from methanol poisoning after consuming industrial alcohol in a binge over the weekend in Papua New Guinea's Lae city, the National reports.
Angau Memorial Hospital emergency department officer in-charge Dr Alex Peawi described it as a “scary chaos” on Sunday.
“Fifteen youths, all males between the ages of 18 and 25, were rushed here (Angau) in the early hours of Sunday,” he said.
“Three were brought in dead. Two came in with blindness and eventually succumbed after an hour or so.”
In 2021, 16 people died and at least 240 people sought medical treatment or were hospitalised at Kainantu Rural Hospital after drinking Methanol-Ethanol mix siphoned from leaked drums.
In the latest incident, it was alleged that one of the youths, a pool cleaner, obtained some methanol from work and shared it with the others from Salamander Street.
Peawi said the spirit was mixed with cheaper alcohol like Wanbel Kerosin beer and consumed, from Friday into the weekend.
“When the toxicity level increased, they started complaining of severe headaches and blindness,” he said.
“We managed to save the other 11 by giving them SP Lager beer, a reversal process where ethanol is given to neutralise methanol poisoning.
“However, it had been more than 48-72 hours, so we were not able to save all.
“From those who were saved, some have already been discharged, others are kept here for monitoring in case of delayed complications.”
Peawi said this was not the first of such cases to be presented at Angau.
“We had a similar incident last year where a worker at the University of Technology laboratory decided to share methanol with boys in the compound and two died,” he said.
“But having five for this year, early in the year, is a very big number.”
The National / PNG Facts
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