The number of deaths in Ecuador from consumption of methanol (industrial alcohol) has risen to 15, with 21 other people under observation, the Ministry of Public Health announced Monday.
The first nine deaths occurred last Thursday in Quito, when health authorities received an alert about suspected intoxicants. Since then, the number has continued to rise.
The police have carried out raids and operations to find establishments selling alcohol without a license, leading to five arrests so far, according to an Interior Ministry statement.
On Friday, the prosecutor-general charged two people, who had supplied the methanol, with homicide and contaminating substances destined for human consumption.
The police have seized over 4,000 liters of illegal alcohol over 937 raids on shops and businesses, with 19 having been shut down and 123 charged with illicit alcohol found on the premises.
On Monday, the Ministry of Health renewed its call for people to stop buying and consuming alcohol of uncertain origin.
In 2011, at least 50 people died and over 200 more were hospitalized after drinking methanol.