A man in the city of Jonacatepec, Mexico came home with three bottles of aguardiente (a form of grain alcohol) and told his wife he had bought them through a friend.
Three hours after drinking, the man, whose name was not released by authorities, experienced strong abdominal pain, vomited excessively and yelled for help as he began to lose his eyesight. Although his family tried to help him, he died hours later, the Mexican newspaper Reforma reported Thursday.
His wife said the bottles were unmarked, without seals.
Mexican authorities are investigating the deaths of over 100 people in Mexico during the past two weeks after reportedly drinking tainted alcohol.
The Mexican government has taken measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, by halting non-essential activity. This has caused brewers such as Heineken and Grupo Modelo to suspend their production and has lead to a shortage in beer.
Some local and state governments have banned the sale of alcohol to discourage people from gathering in groups where COVID-19 could be spread.
Some officials speculate these measures may have driven people to the black market, consuming bootleg alcohol containing dangerous substances such as methanol.
Others point to the worsening economy, which could be leading people to turn to cheaper bootleg versions of alcohol.
Methanol is a poisonous substance, in the same family as ethanol alcohol, and can cause chest pain, nausea, hyperventilation, blindness and coma, when consumed.
Authorities have launched investigations to identify the suppliers and warned Mexicans about consuming alcoholic drinks of unknown origin.
In the state of Jalisco, the health department is investigating six deaths that stem from adulterated alcohol consumed at a gathering over the weekend, Reforma reported.
Relatives of the victims said they were all drinking at the gathering when they began to feel sick.
Although it’s not rare for people in Mexico to become ill after consuming unlawfully produced alchohol, the sudden increase during the lockdown is unusually high.
The fatalities, reported by states since the start of the month, appeared to spike after Mother’s Day on Sunday, according to officials and local media reports.
Reuters and Associated Press contributed.