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Death toll in Russian mass alcohol poisoning climbs to 58

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By Euronews  with REUTERS
Death toll in Russian mass alcohol poisoning climbs to 58

Mass alcohol poisoning has killed at least 58 people in Russia and hospitalised dozens.

The fatalities in the Siberian city of Irkutsk occurred after people turned to bath lotion as a cheap, counterfeit alternative to vodka or other intoxicating drinks.

Two days ago (December 19) authorities put the death toll at 41.

Officials say there were clearly labelled with warnings not to consume the contents of the lotion.

One hospitalised man described his symptoms.
“In the morning, when I woke up, I had a severe headache. I realised that I was losing my vision. When I looked at the light it felt like I was blinded by car headlights,” he said.

Alexei Tretyakov, a toxicologist at the Regional Health Ministry, explained the sudden rise in cases.
“The large number of people who died under these circumstances can be explained first and foremost by the high concentration of methanol in the liquid they drank. 30-50 ml of methanol is considered a lethal dose.”

A police investigation has led to the arrest of several people and the confiscation of thousands of bottles of bath oil, amounting to hundreds of litres.

Perfume, aftershave, anti-freeze and window cleaner are also known to have been used as a substitute for alcoholic drinks.

Officials have put a regional ban on the sale of all liquids containing spirits not meant for human consumption.