Holidaymakers poisoned and killed after by spiked cocktails

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Holidaymakers warned about lethal cocktails in Asia and Europe
Holidaymakers warned about lethal cocktails in Asia and Europe

Tourists travelling to parts of Asia and Europe are being warned about lethal cocktails served at bars that have killed a number of holidaymakers and left some disabled.

A growing number of cases have been reported of tourists dying on their summer holidays after suffering methanol poisoning, with deaths in Bali, India, Turkey and parts of Europe.

Methanol is a clear, colourless liquid, which has a faint alcohol odour making it impossible to detect when mixed into alcoholic drinks. Some bar owners use the low-cost solvent in drinks served to unsuspecting tourists. The highly toxic chemical is found in antifreeze or paint stripper.

In May 2013, a British backpacker died after drinking lethal methanol from a bottle labelled gin in Indonesia.

Cheznye Emmons, 23, was at a full moon party and took a swig of the alcohol unaware that it had been spiked.

She became ill within hours and complained of blindness before being put in an induced coma. Five days later, Cheznye's parents made the heartbreaking decision to turn off her life support.

Most recently, two young lawyers on holiday in Bali fell seriously ill after being poisoned by methanol at a bar where they were having a meal.

Holidaymakers warned about lethal cocktails in Asia and Europe
Holidaymakers warned about lethal cocktails in Asia and Europe

Britons Kate McCormick, 29, and Laura Livanou, 26, told the Daily Mail that they were violently sick and felt as though they were "being drugged and then run over" after drinking four locally-produced vodkas with Red Bull each.

After two days of pounding headaches, feeling dizzy and disorientated, the women started to feel better and it was only after speaking to other tourists about their experience that they realised they had suffered methanol poisoning.

According to the Health Protection Agency, the symptoms of methanol ingestion include depression, headaches, nausea, blurred vision or complete blindness and just "4-10ml methanol in adults may cause permanent damage".

In Europe, methanol poisoning is most common in Eastern and Central countries. In September 2012, The Spec reported that 19 people died and 24 were hospitalised in the Czech Republic after drinking vodka and rum laced with methanol.

Although methanol poisoning is rare in Britain, it is not unheard of. In 2011, 42-year-old Rebecca Dickson died in agony after buying vodka labelled 'Original Vodka Russia Export Quality' from a local man in Edinburgh.

Medical director Dr Ed Bajrovic of Travelvax Australia, which has seen a number of methanol poisoning cases among travellers, advises tourists "to be observant when drinking in bars, large-scale events, or at parties.

"Home-made alcoholic drinks should be avoided. And, not just because methanol poisoning can cause severe illness or death.

He adds: "Local alcohol may be stronger than travellers are used to and getting drunk increases the risk of being injured, robbed or assaulted."

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