In Kangai village, Mwea East, Kirinyaga County, tragedy struck when six family members lost their lives and five others were left blind after consuming illegal alcohol.
County Health CeC George Karoki reported that one of the deceased had been rushed to Kerugoya County Referral Hospital but unfortunately passed away upon arrival.
Karoki stated, “There was a case referred to Kerugoya County referral hospital, but it could not be managed, and we have reports that the patient died on arrival at the facility.”
Relatives of the deceased informed authorities that five more family members had died in their homes after drinking the illicit alcohol, with their bodies taken to a funeral home.
However, the official confirmation of these deaths is still pending.
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“We have other reports that we got from relatives and family members that we are yet to confirm; they are saying they lost five other relatives who had consumed the illicit brew,” added Karoki.
“We are told that they died at their residences and were therefore taken straight to mortuary.”
Videos circulating online depicted several individuals, including men of different ages and an elderly woman, sitting outside a house in a bewildered state.
These individuals were among those who consumed ‘California’, a notorious and potent illicit liquor common in the region.
Concerned residents gathered around, trying to ascertain the extent of their blindness.
Karoki explained that the symptoms displayed by the victims, such as blurred vision, align with previous cases of ethanol poisoning.
“We suspect this illicit brew had ethanol because of the signs and symptoms that they exhibited; it showed that they had blurred vision and could not see well,” he said.
“This type of chemical can cause liver cirrhosis and other nervous system problems, including that sign where they cannot see well.”