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Student dies after consuming lethal lab chemical mistaking it for alcohol

A Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) candidate in Samburu County died on Monday after consuming a lethal laboratory chemical.

Another candidate is fighting for her life at the Samburu County Referral Hospital after consuming methanol from the school’s laboratory.

The two were in a group of eight Form Four students from Longewean Secondary School in Samburu Central sub-county who consumed the chemical mistaking it for an alcoholic drink.

Six others who drank the concoction were rushed to Suguta Health facility where they were treated and discharged.

The students – five boys and three girls – stole the chemical from the school’s laboratory and shared it with others during the evening hours.

Samburu Central sub-county OCPD Mr Abaggarro Guyo, who confirmed the incident, said some of the students had taken the liquid in its pure form while the rest mixed it with soda.


Dr Rajab Saddam, a doctor at Samburu County Referral Hospital in Maralal town who spoke to the media, confirmed that a 17-year-old girl was admitted at the hospital after she suffered severe abdominal pains. She had been rushed to the hospital by her colleagues and members of staff.

Dr Saddam said medical staff were doing their best to save her life.

“We are attending to her and monitoring her condition,” he said.

The doctor explained that the remedy to methanol poisoning is that one needs to “treat it with pure vodka, that is pure alcohol, which has being purchased as we speak.”

The medic said the vodka was urgently needed to unbind the methanol from the patient’s system to save her eyes, liver and kidney from failure.

The victim was unable to speak from the time she was taken to the hospital.

The body of the deceased student was taken to Samburu County Referral hospital mortuary as police launched further investigations into the matter.