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Russian Health Ministry: Alcohol poisoning death toll in Siberia stands at 76

IRKUTSK, January 9. /TASS/. The forensic medical examination has not confirmed reports saying that two people had died of poisoning with methanol in Irkutsk’s hospitals during the New Year holidays that lasted from January 1 to January 9. The total number of victims of the alcohol poisoning incident thus stands at 76, the press service of the regional Health Ministry told TASS on Monday.

"Two persons were taken to hospitals after an emergency with the symptoms similar to methanol poisoning. However, expert examination did not confirm this," the press service said, adding that the number of victims continues to stand at 76, while the total number of registered cases is 123.

The regional Health Ministry reported earlier on Monday that the number of people in Irkutsk who have died after drinking a bath lotion containing methanol had risen to 78. According to officials, three people continue to be in hospitals. No new patients with such a diagnosis have been taken to local hospitals during the New Year holidays. A criminal case has been opened into the sale of goods failing to meet safety requirements and resulting in the death of two or more people. Over 20 people have been detained as part of this criminal case. Investigators say most victims were the residents of the same Novo-Lenino neighborhood.