Six family members died and five others went partially blind after consuming illicit liquor in Kangai village, Mwea east, Kirinyaga county.
Kerugoya County Health boss George Karoki said among the deceased was a patient who had been referred to the Kerugoya County Referral Hospital but died upon arrival on Tuesday.
“There was a case that was referred to Kerugoya County referral hospital, but it could not be managed, and we have reports that that patient died on arrival at the facility,” Karoki said.
Karoki said relatives of the deceased said that five other family members had died within their residences after consuming the liquor and that their bodies had been moved to a funeral home.
“We have other reports that we got from relatives and family members that we are yet to confirm, they are saying they lost five other relatives who had consumed the illicit brew,” Karoki added.
“We are told that they died at their residences and were therefore taken straight to mortuary.”
The five are said to have been among a group that took ‘California’, a notorious, potent illicit liquor sold in the region.
Videos showed residents milling around the five people and attempting to confirm whether they had really gone blind.
Karoki said the symptoms exhibited by the victims, which include blurred vision, are consistent with previous cases of ethanol consumption.
“We suspect this illicit brew had ethanol because of the signs and symptoms that they exhibited; it showed that they had blurred vision and could not see well,” Karoki told the media.
“This type of chemical can cause liver cirrhosis and other nervous system problems, including that sign where they cannot see well.”
Police said they are investigating the cases. This comes amid ongoing operations targeting the illicit brewers in the region at large.