Six individuals have reportedly succumbed, and five others have experienced blindness after allegedly ingesting illicit alcohol in Kirinyaga.

George Karoki, the Health CEC of Kirinyaga, stated that based on the symptoms exhibited by the victims, it seems the illicit brew contained ethanol.

“The symptoms displayed by these patients indicate blurred vision and poor eyesight,” he remarked.

The exact number of fatalities is yet to be confirmed.

Ethanol can promptly harm the nervous system, including the nerves in the eyes, upon ingestion.

Initially, it induces inflammation followed by the demise of nervous tissue, leading to blindness and potential fatality.

Karoki further noted that ethanol also has the potential to cause liver cirrhosis, resulting in permanent scarring and impaired liver function.

“It can also trigger other nervous system complications, contributing to impaired vision,” he added.

Teresiah Wanjiku, the Deputy County Commissioner of Mwea East, where the incident occurred, stated that illegal trade in ethanol-laced brews has been reported in the area.

She mentioned challenges in prosecuting such cases, citing a lack of success in previous attempts.

Wanjiku expressed plans to transfer the cases to a court in Wang’uru due to frustrations in prosecution.

In May 2023, two individuals in Kirinyaga lost their sight after consuming illicit liquor towards the end of March 2023.

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