PHARMA & HEALTHCARE 1/12/2015 @ 10:44AM
Over the weekend, the Associated Press picked up on a tragic story from Mozambique where dozens of people apparently died after drinking a traditional beer that had been laced, allegedly, with “crocodile bile.”
Radio Mozambique updated the story this morning, confirming that 69 people have died and 196 are hospitalized after attending a funeral on Friday in the village of Chitima in the western part of the country. The mourners had gathered later in the day in a neighborhood to drink Pombe (or Phombe), a fermented mix of sorghum, bran, corn, and sugar. (Note: The Latin name for a yeast, not usually used in brewing, is Schizosaccharomyces pombe.)
The owner of the drink stand, her daughter, nephew, and four members of neighboring families were among the first seven fatalities received at the local hospital morgue on Saturday morning.
Paula Bernardo, district director of Health, Women and Social Action in Cahora Bassa, told Radio Mozambique that as authorities attempted to determine the cause of these deaths, local hospitals became inundated with people suffering from diarrhea and muscle aches (roughly translated from Portuguese) and more people already dead. The patients came both from Chitima and the nearby village of Songo.