Expat suspected of alcoholic poisoning hospitalized in Hanoi

By VnExpress   March 8, 2017 | 07:59 am PT
Vietnam has recorded a quickly rising number of patients hospitalized with methanol poisoning in recent weeks.

A foreigner has been admitted to a hospital in Hanoi with dimming vision suspected of methanol poisoning, Tuoi Tre Online reported Wednesday.

It named the 35-year-old patient as Martin, saying he was hospitalized Tuesday, a day after having his eyes checked at another hospital. The report neither identified Martin's nationality nor gave his last name.

Martin started having problems with his eyesight after drinking alcohol he bought from his street.

Doctors said dim-sightedness is one of the clear signs of being poisoned by methanol. Martin's medical examinations are pending final results.

Three other Vietnamese patients admitted to the same hospital, who had also drunken alcohol at street vendors, were diagnosed with methanol poisoning. One of them is in a coma while the other two have the same symptoms with Martin.

Vietnam is the second biggest consumer of beer and liquor in Southeast Asia after Thailand and ranks the 10th largest in Asia for alcohol consumption.

Most alcoholic beverages contain low levels of methanol, which causes no harm. High levels of methanol, however, may lead to neurotoxicity and organ failure, the Vietnam News Agency said in a report last month.

In one of the country's worst deadly alcohol poisoning cases, seven people were killed while many others were hospitalized in the mountainous province of Lai Chau last month after drinking alcohol bought from a commune on the Chinese border.

Initial tests show that the methanol content in the alcohol consumed by the victims was thousands of times higher than permitted, according to the news agency.

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