Officials at Victoria Falls Hospital have sent for laboratory tests a specimen of suspected poisoned beer recently consumed by over 70 curio vendors and resulted in the loss of a life.
The red liquid which was in a 5-litre container was picked up by the vendors at Shearwater Explorers Lodge on June 16, where it had been dumped by tourists.
District health medical practitioner Wisdom Kurauone confirmed that one patient died last week after taking the liquid a few weeks earlier while the other one had been transferred to Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo after his condition worsened, with kidney problems.
“His kidneys are not functioning well and like the deceased, he has abdominal pains, running stomach and is vomiting. We have sent the specimens to our national laboratory and we are still waiting for the results. It takes a bit of time as they will be doing lot of things,” he said.
The vendors allegedly took turns to drink the liquid before taking it to Chinotimba Big Bar and Mukali Bar in Mkhosana where some imbibers also drank it.
Some stopped drinking after becoming suspicious of the strange taste, but others continued to imbibe until they started experiencing weakness in their joints, dizziness, abdominal pains and severe vomiting.
The vendors accused the hospital for failing to prescribe them proper medication until their condition deteriorated.
Some said they crossed to neighbouring Zambia last week to seek medication and they were responding well.
According to vendors’ association chairperson, Mandlenkosi Sibanda, some have stopped reporting for work and he appealed to government to intervene.