I've received an email from a source that has worked in a travel agency before. I trust this source but I do not know how true the contents are.
We all love to travel and when we are travelling, our guards are down most of the time. Thus it's important that we at least know of things like travel advisories. Recently received a travel advisory from a trusted source on multiple mysterious deaths occurring in a hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Although the advisory is a little dated as it was issued in March, I think it's good for us to know too.
DISCLAIMER : I cannot vouch for the validity of the contents of the report that I have received but it has a letter head carrying the Travel Guard insurance from Chartis and is labelled as a Health Advisory. I have tried searching the net for more information on the issue and there seems to be 2 discussions on yahoo groups about the same issue and one article posted by a news site in New Zealand that touches on the exact issue. I also do know know if the health advisory has been retracted or not. You all draw your own conclusion.
Here is the text on the advisory I received:
*** Start of Text ***
Mysterious Deaths in Chiang Mai, Thailand
A series of mysterious deaths have occurred in Chiang Mai, Thailand, starting in January
2011. Seven reported deaths have occurred under similar circumstances. Some of the
similarities between the cases are;
1. Hotel Accommodation: The Downtown Inn Hotel
2. Type of Food Consumed: Japanese food
3. Cause of death: Inflammation/enlargement of the heart with
The cases are as listed below:
1. 11th January 2011 1st victim:
An American woman Soraya Vorster Pandola, 33; died when she became
violently ill after eating at a Japanese restaurant. She was not staying at the
Downtown Inn Hotel.
2. 4th February 2011 2nd victim:
Thai tour guide Waraporn Yingmahasawanont died in the Room 518. He was
staying at the Downtown Inn Hotel and was reported to have contracted food
3. 5th February 2011 3rd victim:
New Zealander: A 23-year-old New Zealand woman Sarah Carter reported to
have died from swelling of the heart, stayed in Room 516 Downtown Inn. She
had eaten Japanese food (toxic seaweed) from a nearby Night Bazaar.
4. ~19th February 2011 4th and 5th victims:
British pensioners George and Eileen Everitt, an elderly British couple, who died
together in Room 423 of the Downtown Inn in Chiang Mai, Further investigation
also found them to have enlargement of the heart muscles and blocked arteries.
5. 9th January 2011 to 4th February 2011 the 6th victim:
An unnamed Frenchwoman died after she and her travelling companion fell ill
while visiting the northern hill city. A post-mortem examination at the Chiang Mai
University Hospital revealed that she had the similar swelling of the heart that
killed Ms Carter and Ms Soraya Vorster.
6. 22nd March 2011 - 7th victim:
A Canadian Bill Mah, 59, died after using the facilities in Downtown Inn including
the swimming pool. Bill was staying in the Peoples Palace Hotel.
Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle. When this condition becomes severe it
can weaken the pumping action of the heart and it can lead to heart failure, strokes and
heart attack. Myocarditis is more usually caused by viral infections but it can also be
caused by bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections; and it can also be associated with
other autoimmune or inflammatory conditions.
Symptoms of myocarditis vary depending on the cause and severity of the condition.
More common symptoms of myocarditis are;
Abnormal or rapid heartbeat
Shortness of breath
Swelling of the feet, ankles and legs
Can be associated with signs and symptoms of viral infection such as body aches,
joint pains, fever, diarrhea and vomiting
Currently there has been no definitive guidelines released from any authorities, however
all travelers visiting Chiang Mai, Thailand are advised to take general preventative health
measures such as;
Eating freshly cooked food
Drinking bottled water from reliable sources
Extra vigilant in regards to personal hygiene
For those who experiences abdominal pain and/or vomiting with or without diarrhea,
chest pain, shortness of breath should seek immediate medical attention
Precautions should also be taken to avoid others who are showing viral illnesses.
Currently the Thai authorities are suggesting that these deaths may be coincidental,
while the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that the cause of death for
Ms. Sarah Carter has not been established. They are waiting on further test results in
the United States and Japan on this matter. The initial swab result from Ms. Carter
*** End of Text ***
And the link to the NZ news site: