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Int J Crit Illn Inj Sci. 2019 Oct-Dec;9(4):172-176. doi: 10.4103/IJCIIS.IJCIIS_49_19. Epub 2019 Dec 11.

Single center experience of managing methanol poisoning in the hilly state of Uttarakhand: A cross sectional study.

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Department of General Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India.
Department of Emergency Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India.



In this article, we describe our experience in managing one of the worst tragedies of an outbreak of methanol poisoning in the state of Uttarakhand in February 2019. It was reported that more than 100 people of Uttarakhand and neighboring districts of Uttar Pradesh succumbed to death after consuming this toxic alcohol laced with methanol.

Materials and Methods:

Demographic, clinical, and biochemical data were collected retrospectively from the hospital record section of the tertiary care hospital in the state of Uttarakhand.


Ninety-three patients of methanol poisoning were attended by the emergency medicine department of our hospital. The mean age of the patients was 38.9 ± 10.3 years. Majority of the patients were males (92/93). The most common clinical symptoms were gastrointestinal (56; 60.2%) followed by neurological (21; 22.6%) and respiratory (18; 19.3%). Most of the patients presented within 12-24 h after consumption of methanol. The mean of latent time of presentation was 4.8 ± 2.6 h. The mean values of pH, bicarbonate levels, lactate, and base deficit were 7.13 ± 0.6, 12.3 ± 6.4, 2.6 ± 0.8, and 15.6 ± 3.8 mmol/l, respectively. Acute kidney injury (26; 27.9%), blurring of vision (9; 9.6%), and sepsis (6, 6.4%) were common complications. Seven patients (7.5%) succumbed to death. Intensive alkali therapy was the main modality of treatment. Ethanol therapy was useful in patients resistant to alkali therapy. Sixteen (17.2%) patients with acute methanol poisoning were dialyzed once.


Patients with acute methanol poisoning have varied presentations. Gastrointestinal symptoms are the most common presentation. Such outbreaks account for the heavy toll of mortality and morbidity in the society. Prompt diagnosis and a protocol based treatment can have a significant impact on the outcome of these patients. Thus, public health warning should be immediately issued with initial presentation of the casualties.


Bicarbonate; Uttarakhand; methanol poisoning

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