Four villagers died between Saturday and Tuesday and a number of others were hospitalised after drinking homemade wine in Kratie’s Snuol district.
Yun Hieng, police chief in Khsem commune, said on Wednesday that three women and a man died after they drank wine with a meal that included meat from a buffalo that drowned on Saturday. He added that the victims initially ignored the symptoms – which included dizziness, diarrhoea and vomiting – and were not hospitalised until they became very ill.
“They did not go to hospital until they were in serious condition, so doctors could not save their lives,” he said.
Village chief Lach Thong said that about 15 villagers drank the wine at a funeral ceremony, with about 10 of them falling ill. Five have been at the hospital.
“It is difficult to conclude the reason for the death. We do not know whether it caused by wine or disease due to unsanitary food during this rainy season,” he said, adding that the wine was imported from a nearby village.
Chhneang Sivutha, director of the provincial health department, said that his officials have been sent to the village to investigate but that the cause of death has not yet been determined.
“Our health officials are investigating the scene, and we do not know the reason for the death. Wine has been taken to be tested,” he said.
No one has been arrested in connection with case, Yun Hieng said, adding that a few pubs in the village were closed and its owners not found.