By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Malaysia Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 55 methanol poisoning cases from September 9-30, including 33 deaths (60% CFR).

Image/Robert Herriman

Selangor state accounted for nearly half the cases (25) and 47 percent of the cases were in Malaysian citizens.

A total of seven cases have been discharged from the hospital while there are 15 more cases that are still receiving treatment, namely 12 critical cases in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and three non -critical cases treated in the ward.

Methanol is a clear, colorless, volatile liquid with a weak odor slightly sweeter than ethanol. It is used in the industrial production of many synthetic organic compounds and is a constituent of a large number of commercially available solvents.

Methanol poisoning is also commonly associated with illegally manufactured alcoholic beverages, as methanol is usually mixed into the beverage as a substitute for ethanol. This is because the price of methanol is relatively cheaper than ethanol.

Symptoms of methanol poisoning include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, headache and blurred vision within five days of alcohol consumption.

The MOH would like to advise consumers not to drink any alcoholic beverages that are feared to be contaminated with methanol. Consumers must ensure that the beverage purchased has a label that contains information about the manufacturer, distributor or importer as well as the ingredients of the alcoholic beverage. Consumers should also avoid consuming alcoholic beverages that are home-brewed and sold at cheap or dubious prices.