Eight people who drank hand sanitizer at a house party in Russia after the alcohol ran out have now died, including the parents of five children who are now orphaned.
A 48-year-old woman, the children’s mother, became the latest to died on Thursday after succumbing to internal injuries caused by the industrial-grade alcohol.
Her husband was among five men aged between 27 and 69 who were the first to die, along with a woman, 41, and another person, whose gender and age were not given.
All seven of those who died, plus the mother, had attended a house party in Tomtor village on November 19.
Another man, from the neighbouring Aldansky district, has also died from consuming the sanitizer but was not connected to the party.
A ninth party attendee, aged 32, is still in hospital and is expected to survive the poisoning but will likely go blind, doctors say.
The lethal sanitizer contained up to 69 per cent methanol, an industrial alcohol used as a solvent, pesticide, and sometimes as a fuel source.
It is poisonous when consumed by humans, unlike its chemical cousin ethanol, which is commonly found in beers, wines and spirits.
The legal limit for methanol in hand sanitizer products is just 3.5 per cent.
Businessman Alexander Kalinin, 44, from Sverdlovsk region, has been arrested and accused of supplying the sanitizer, which has been tracked to kindergartens, schools, businesses and a jail.
He is currently being held under house arrest while an investigation is carried out, and is facing six years in jail if convicted.
Almost 4,800 litres of the deadly concoction have been seized so far, but police believe that more was supplied.
Methanol can be lethal to humans because, once inside the body, it is processed into acid which enters the bloodstream and attacks tissues.
Symptoms of acute methanol poisoning can include dizziness, mania and amnesia; severe abdominal pains and internal bleeding; blurred vision and hallucinations; kidney failure and heart problems.
Longer term effects include coma, possible death, and potential blindness in those who recover from the initial onset.
Russian health authorities have issued a warning to people not to drink sanitizer.