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56 people die at funeral after drinking beer contaminated by crocodile bile

By Mason White 11:29 AM January 12, 2015
Drinking beer illustration 

By: Feng Qian
Police in Mozambique, are investigating the death of 56 people who attended a funeral.

Health officials said that at least 56 people died after drinking poisonous beer at the funeral.

The beer was brewed locally and is believed to have been poisoned with crocodile bile. Bile is a fluid that is made and released by the liver. It breaks down fats in the body.

The poisoned beer not only killed 56 people, but sickened over 200. 49 victims were admitted to a hospital and another 146 have visited the hospital with symptoms of poisoning, district health officer Alex Albertini said.

There is a risk that the death toll could rise as health officials admitted that they did not have the resources to deal with this kind of situation.

All victims are said to have attended the funeral on Saturday, where they drank the beer from a local brewery, according to Albertini.

According to the initial police investigation, the beer was poisoned with crocodile bile during the funeral. Those who drank beer on the morning of the funeral, reported no signs of the disease, while those who drank the same beer in the afternoon became ill, officials said.

The woman who was in charge of the brewing process, also died of poisoning.

Samples of blood and beer were sent to Maputo, for testing as regional offices do not have the right technology to do so.

The Investigation into the incident is ongoing. Health officials are helping families affected by the tragedy, and are collecting donations of food and other items for the families.