Officials say methanol was added to the distilled alcohol to boost its strength, and the deaths and bindings in Embu, Kitui, Limuru and Kiambu counties -- all in the vicinity of the capital of Nairobi -- have been reported since Sunday.
The drink, known local as “changaa” or “kumi kumi,” may have been produced in the same batch by its distributor, officials said. The incident is similar to one in 2005, when 45 people in Kenya died from drinking methanol-laced alcohol.
Consumption of homemade liquor is popular in Kenya, where many cannot afford store-bought liquor. A bill passed in 2010 attempted to regulate homemade alcohol by legalizing it, but requiring liquor to be bottled commercially and sold at regulated stores.