Five patients of a Mexican drug rehabilitation clinic have died, and several others are sick after eating a contaminated soy sausage that was served for Christmas dinner, the Associated Press reported.
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Authorities have launched an investigation to determine if the food, most of which is donated at the clinic, had been deliberately poisoned.
Red Cross spokesman Daniel Nunez told reporters that another 37 of the clinic's patients have been hospitalized, suffering dizziness and vomiting, and three are said to be in a serious condition, the BBC reported.
Nunez said it was unsure if the contamination was “intentional, or whether it was human error," but that forensic experts were investigating the possibility of cyanide poisoning.
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Health officials said special protective suits were used when two paramedics and one doctor also showed signs of food poisoning after treating the victims, BNO reported.
Drug gangs in Mexico have targeted rehab centers in the past for the purpose of recruiting addicts as smugglers, BNO reported.
Other reports say that recovering drug addicts in clinics are sometimes the victims of revenge attacks from rival drug gang members.