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Methanol poisoning up in Vietnam

Methanol poisoning up in Vietnam

An alcohol poisoning patient is treated at Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
- The number of methanol poisoning cases has
surged over the past three months compared with previous years, according to
information presented at a workshop on April 10 in Hanoi on the effect of
alcohol abuse and the treatment of methanol poisoning.
Addressing the event sponsored by the Vietnam Food
Administration under the Ministry of Health, Nguyen Trung Nguyen from the
Poisoning Control Centre at Bach Mai Hospital said the centre treated 34 cases
of methanol poisoning cases this year. Of these, nine people died. Nguyen
warned that even those who survive are likely to suffer serious after-effect.
Over 60 cases were recorded in the country last year, compared
with only a handful in the previous years, he said. Consuming alcohol with
methanol content of nearly 50 percent was the cause of alcohol-related deaths,
he added.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien said: "It is
heartbreaking to see victims of methanol poisoning die, or remain maimed,
despite doctors’ best efforts to save them." Methanol-laced alcohol can
cause lasting nerve damage or blindness, he warned.
Identifying the responsible person is very difficult, Tien said,
but consumption of alcohol, especially of methanol, must be curbed. He
suggested that as an authorised agency, the Ministry of Industry and Trade
should tighten the management of alcohol quality to prevent poisoning.
Nguyen Hung Long, deputy head of the VFA, said the prevention of
methanol poisoning should focus on small alcohol dealers, especially small food
establishments.
These establishments usually sell alcohol without brand names, he
said, adding that it was difficult to distinguish between white wine and
methanol-laced alcohol.
Participants at the workshop agreed that there were shortcomings
in the management of alcohol production and trading.
They proposed that a law be promulgated soon, strengthening
control over s, as well as places which sell alcohol, and the
consumption of alcohol by children and drivers.
According to the VFA, 382 people have been poisoned by unsafe
alcohol over the past 10 years, 98 of whom died.
Most cases of alcohol intoxication are caused by drinking alcohol
of unknown origin, or home-made liquor sold at small restaurants or in street
stalls.-VNA
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