Sixteen people have reportedly died shortly after drinking homemade booze made by a 63-year-old woman in Kaunas, Lithuania.

The elderly woman, who reportedly had prior convictions for illicit trafficking of domestic alcoholic beverages and ethyl alcohol, has been arrested in connection with the poisoning last week and charged with negligent deprivation of life. The 16 victims who lost their lives to the poisoning were reportedly between the ages of 30 and 60, the Washington Newsday reported.

"Since the beginning of this month, a total of 16 men and women of various ages have died in Kaunas hospitals, possibly from the same alcohol surrogate, most of them residents of the same district," the Kaunas Regional Prosecutor's Office said in a statement released on Tuesday, Aug. 17.

He said that two other people are currently being treated at different hospitals, indicating that the number of people with alcohol poisoning may increase in the coming days.

When police officers raided the woman's home, they reportedly discovered containers with liquid of unknown origin. The containers have been seized for further investigation, according to MSN.

Kaunas Regional Prosecutor’s Office is presently conducting 17 pre-trial investigations, including 16 on the cause of death and another on negligent deprivation of life, according to prosecutor Auks Lipkeviien.

Another person who was reportedly suspected of illegally distributing the illegal beverage also died on Monday night, Aug. 16, from alcohol poisoning.

Law enforcement officers and medics have reportedly warned residents not to buy or consume alcoholic beverages from unknown sources.

Alcohol surrogates are controlled substances that reportedly contain various alcohols and are used to intoxicate, but their use can often result in death, according to Jonas Urkus, a clinical toxicologist at Kaunas Clinics’ Nephrology Clinic.

There are two types of alcohol surrogates: those that contain ethanol, which is simply termed alcohol, and those that do not contain ethanol, such as ethylene glycol and methanol.

“Alcohol toxicity caused by ethanol is usually mild. Even with prompt treatment, ethylene glycol and methanol poisoning can be lethal." Urkus told the prosecutors. He added that alcohol poisoning from ethylene glycol and methanol can cause irreversible organ damage, such as kidney failure or blindness in survivors.

Urkus added that the 16 victims were probably poisoned with methanol.

"It is a very cunning alcohol, the most poisonous surrogate of alcohol," he said.

Sixteen people have reportedly died shortly after drinking homemade booze made by a 63-year-old woman in Kaunas, Lithuania. This is a representational image. Pixabay

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