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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thailand's mysterious tourist deaths linked to insecticide poisoning

Seven tourists were reported to have died between January and March while spending their holidays in northern Thailand, all with similar circumstances and symptoms of severe chest pain that progressed to vomiting and fainting.
An incredible life-threatening investigative journalism was undertaken by reporters of New Zealand's TV3 60 Minutes who traveled to Chiang Mai and posed as tourists to get samples and swabs in Downtown Inn—the hotel were all of the seven died.
Lab results showed traces chlorpyrifos (CY), a chemical that is used to remove bedbugs. While the organophosphate chemical is toxic to bugs, it is also lethal to humans.
Among those who died mysteriously were New Zealand’s Sarah Carter, 23, UK's George Everitt, 78, and his wife Eileen, 73, and Canada's Bill Mah, 53.
The mystery deaths were initially thought to have been caused by natural causes, food poisoning to suspected toxic seaweeds.
The WHO is now investigating the case, which has attracted worldwide attention.
Chemical expert Dr. Ron McDowall of the United Nations told 60 Minutes about Carter's death, "Their reaction was that it is clear, it’s CY poisoning—we’ve seen it before, the symptoms are the same, the pathology is the same, and the proxy indicates that the chemical was in the room.
"The chemical is absorbed by the body very quickly. It only has a half-life of a day so it can be very hard to predict the event.
Sarah's father, Richard said, "Their (Downtown Inn) short term defense is to bury all these incidences so the rest of the world doesn't hear about them. It's to ensure their tourist numbers don't drop off."
Her parents are relieved that a new evidence had been found to the cause of their daughter's death. They hope it will be avoided in the future.
Concerned with its impact on tourism, Thailand authorities said the deaths were coincidences, in M&C Website.
To alert travelers when visiting the Southeast Asian country, the Carters created to uncover what Richard coined the official cover-up of Sarah's mysterious death.
Details of this report here.

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