Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Counterfeit alcohol laced with methanol has killed 25 people in Costa Rica, its ministry of health announced Monday.
A total of 59 people have been hospitalized by methanol poisoning, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.
Authorities shut down 10 businesses and seized more than 55,000 containers of alcohol that contained the methanol, a colorless poison found in antifreeze. Bootleg alcohol is often branded to look like a legitimate product, the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking said. Then, it ends up in bars and stores.
"For us Americans, we are used to safety with respect to food and drinks," Carnegie Mellon professor Sridhar Tayur told Business Insider. "When you go to nice places, you expect that those nice places are also careful."
Instead of buying 100 cases of authentic alcohol, they buy 95 cases and mix in five cases of bootleg alcohol to turn a nice profit, Tayur said.
Affected brands include Guaro Montano, Guaro Gran Apache, Aguardiente Estrella, Aguardiente Baron Rojo, Aguardiente Timbuka and Molotov Aguardiente.
The latest statement from the health ministry added several more brands to the list. The IARD released a report estimating that illegal alcohol made up 19 percent of total alcohol in Costa Rica.
Symptoms of methanol poisoning include drowsiness, confusion, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, mania, coma, seizure, heart and respiratory failure and the inability to coordinate movement.
The FBI is conducting tests to determine if the bootleg alcohol is related to the deaths of multiple Americans in the Dominican Republic in May.