Health authorities in Havana on Thursday reported two new deaths among the dozens of people who drank methyl alcohol sold illegally in a neighborhood in the Cuban capital, bringing the total number of fatalities in the case to nine.

According to the most recent report issued by the Provincial Health Directorate of Havana, cited on state-run television, 59 people have been hospitalized since the episode came to light, but five of them have been released.

The majority of those affected are residents of the Havana municipality of La Lisa, where a local woman illegally sold the deadly alcohol, which - according to the preliminary investigation - had been stolen from a government warehouse by two workers.

Methyl - or "wood" - alcohol is a clear liquid generally used as a reagent in laboratories and research centers.

In the official report on the case, which was released on Wednesday, authorities emphasized that this type of alcohol is "extremely toxic for the human organism and its consumption can result in serious effects such as blindness and even death."

The majority of the victims in this case showed the symptoms typical of methyl alcohol poisoning, including "nausea, headaches, vomiting, enervation and vision problems." EFE