Traditional Brew Lands 25 in Hospital

A group of 25 people, among them a one-year-old toddler, had to be rushed to Andara Hospital last week after drinking traditional beer known as ‘mundevere’. They were all vomiting, experiencing nausea and dizziness but were discharged the next day although remaining under medical observation.

‘Mundevere’ is fermented beer made with mahangu, yeast, water and sugar.

Dr Bemba Moses of Andara Hospital, which is situated 200 kms east of Rundu, said the group was brought to hospital at ten o’clock last Thursday morning and all had common symptoms – vomiting, dizziness, abdominal pain and nausea, which allegedly started after they drank the traditional beer. The group of villagers are from Rudhiva village, 24 km west of Divundu in the Mukwe constituency.

The mother of the one-year-old child reportedly gave the child the beer to drink.

“We found the symptoms were unique in all of them and they took liquor from the same source – all complained about the same things, so we had to admit them for observation though their condition later stabilised,” said Moses.

When the villagers first started experiencing the symptoms they didn’t pay much attention, not thinking they would later be completely incapacitated.

However, upon seeing the villagers fall around her like flies the owner of the shebeen got very worried and alerted the chairperson of the Village Development Committee of Rudhiva, Ineya Raymont, who in turn notified the police. The shebeen owner had apparently earlier that morning noticed a break-in at her shebeen but found nothing missing.

“I was told of the break-in and we thought that it was just someone who was looking for something that he didn’t find so he left.

“After a while Yakara who is the owner of the Mundevere shebeen came rushing to me saying that somebody put poison in the gallon of alcohol that she was selling and people were vomiting and falling about.

“So we rushed to see what was happening and one could see that something was wrong as the remaining alcohol looked blue and people were seriously vomiting,” said Raymont.

However Moses said they couldn’t conclude that the people were poisoned as the hospital was still awaiting results from the hospital laboratory that tested the beer.

“With the methods of preparation of that alcohol the ingredients being used are at times the problem. We have come across food poisoning though not common … but with alcohol that can be because the alcohol is brewed from cereals that sometimes have a mould that can cause that [poisoning], but we haven’t reached a conclusion yet,” said Moses. Those admitted were 13 females and 12 males, the oldest being 63 and the one-year-old being the youngest.

Source : New Era