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Philippine Standard Time
The Department of Health (DOH) received several reports of poisoning allegedly due to ingestion of coconut wine or lambanog in the municipality of Rizal, Laguna. 265 individuals have reportedly fallen ill with 2 confirmed deaths.
 
A total of 66 individuals were brought to Philippine General Hospital for treatment and observation. Of the 66, 49 (84%) were males. Age of cases ranged from 13-65 years old. While 55 (95%) were residents of Rizal, Laguna. All had a history of lambanog ingestion between December 19 to 22.
 
Other affected individuals were brought to East Avenue Medical Center (62), Rizal Medical Center (82), Quirino Memorial Medical Center (13), and Batangas Medical Center (42) for medical management.
 
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has repeatedly issued warnings to lambanog brewers over its high methanol content and advised the public to exercise extreme caution in purchasing and consuming the alcohol beverage, and to buy only those registered with FDA.
 
“Lambanog poisoning is caused by residual methanol, which in high levels becomes highly toxic for humans. Methanol is a naturally occurring substance present during the distilling process, that should be separated and removed thereafter,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III explained.
 
FDA regulatory inspectors have been deployed to Municipality of Rizal, Laguna to collect samples and investigate the alleged poisoning incident. DOH has assigned  teams to the different health facilities where affected individuals were referred.
 
“DOH is on top of this, we are investigating the alleged lambanog poisoning. Meanwhile,  I urge everyone to avoid drinking alcoholic drinks this Holiday Season. Let us stay sober as we celebrate the festivities with our families and loved ones,” the Health Chief concluded.

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