Costa Rica: Tainted alcohol death toll rises to 25; 59 people affected overall

Costa Rica's Ministry of Health says a total of 59 people have consumed tainted alcohol as the death toll due to the liquor rose to 25 in the Central American tourist destination.

According to a press release on the agency's website, 19 men and six women between the ages of 32 and 72 have died since June.

The Ministry of Health said it had closed 10 establishments and seized more than 55,000 containers of alcohol it said were laced with methanol, a colorless, poisonous alcohol found in antifreeze.

Adding methanol to distilled beverages allows sellers to increase the volume of liquid, as well as its potential potency, according to SafeProof, an organization that lobbies against counterfeit alcohol.

Costa Rica blames deaths on tainted alcohol: What you need to know

Earlier, the ministry said affected brands included Guaro Montano, Guaro Gran Apache, Aguardiente Estrella, Aguardiente Barón Rojo, Aguardiente Timbuka and Molotov Aguardiente.

In its latest press release, the brands Guaro Chonete, Guaro Cuerazo, Guaro Sacheto, Red Star Brandy, Brandy Red Barnacle, Brandy Timbuka and Brandy Molotov were added to the list of those that should be avoided.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms of methanol poisoning include drowsiness, confusion, headache, dizziness, and the inability to coordinate muscle movement, nausea, vomiting, mania, coma, seizure as well as heart and respiratory failure.

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More: Dominican Republic to enhance food and drink inspections after tourist deaths

Meanwhile, the FBI is running toxicology analysis on at least two of the 10 Americans confirmed to have died in the Dominican Republic, another popular vacation destination, to see if tainted alcohol played a role. And the country's Ministry of Tourism is amping up safety measures.

The Hard Rock Hotel chain has also removed liquor dispensers from rooms at its properties in the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

Contributing: Susan Haas, Vandana Ravikumar, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Costa Rica: Tainted alcohol death toll up to 25; 59 affected overall

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