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India: Nine die after drinking hand sanitizer amid alcohol ban

Nine people have died in Andhra Pradesh, India after drinking alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

According to Kurichedu town police superintendent Siddharth Kaushal, the nine lost consciousness after drinking a hand sanitiser mixed with water and soda.

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He added that they were rushed to hospital but declared dead on arrival.

Others from the group survived and were later discharged.

An investigation into the nine deaths has been launched, he added.

Liquor shops in the town were shut under a local COVID-19 lockdown in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.

“Alcohol is not available because of the lockdown, but hand sanitisers are easily available. Some people who are heavily addicted to alcohol had been consuming hand sanitisers for the high,” Kaushal said.

He further said investigations into the matter has commenced.

“We are investigating whether the sanitiser had any other toxic content,” he added.

This came months after three people died and one became permanently blind in New Mexico after drinking hand sanitizer containing methanol.

The New Mexico Department of Health said three other people are in critical condition.

“All seven people are believed to have drunk hand sanitizer containing methanol,” the department said in a statement.

Hand sanitizers usually contain ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, but is harmful when it contains methanol.

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When ingested, methanol can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or even death.

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