At least 69 people are dead and 196 hospitalized after drinking tainted homemade beer during a funeral in Mozambique.
Drinking Pombe, a traditional home-brewed beer, is common at funerals in the African country. Not long after the funeral in the northeastern Tete province, victims were being rushed to hospitals all complaining of similar symptoms, according to Fox News.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Paula Bernardo” author_title=”Health Director”]
As we prepared to determine the cause of death of people, we began to receive a lot of people with diarrhea and other muscle aches. After that we began to receive dead bodies from several neighborhoods.
By Sunday, 56 people had died with 49 hospitalized. The numbers climbed overnight to 69 dead and 196 admitted to hospitals in Tete by Monday. Health authorities say the death toll may rise as they are not equipped with the resources to deal with the scope of the situation.
The beer was locally brewed and believed to have been tainted with crocodile bile. It’s widely believed that the bile from the gall bladder of the crocodile is poisonous, but it is not easy to obtain. There is no clear evidence of how poisonous crocodile bile is to humans, according to TIME. A 30-year-old study seems to be the only proof that the bile is a toxin. It’s unknown what has led health officials to believe the beer was contaminated with crocodile bile.
The woman who brewed the beer, as well as her daughter, nephew and several close family members, were among the first reported deaths. Blood and beer samples been sent to the capital of Maputo for testing.
The government has declared three days of national mourning, the Washington Post reported.