Why Are So Many Travelers Dying In Chiang Mai?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A seventh mysterious death of a traveler occurred this week in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and little to no answers have been given for their causes. As reported in the New Zealand Herald yesterday, Canadian Bill Mah died after using the Downtown Inn facilities, including their swimming pool. The same hotel has also been linked to the deaths of an elderly British couple, a Thai tourist guide and 23-year-old New Zealand tourist.

The newspaper also reports that “[t]wo other women, who were not staying at the Inn, have also died in the city in similar circumstances within a month.” Today, it was reported that Thailand’s Department for Disease Control said it could not find any links between the deaths and have labeled them coincidental. However, the NZ Herald has learned that initial swab results of the 23-year-old victim indicated that she had contracted echovirus — a virus linked to unsanitary conditions.

According to our source in Chiang Mai, who has asked not be identified for various reasons, another theory that has been raised by those living in the city is one that involved the re-occurrence of vendors selling puffer fish — parts of which can cause sudden death — disguised as salmon, as was the case in 2007 when 15 deaths were linked to the deadly food.

Others suspect that unsanitary conditions at the hotel, perhaps linked to the water filtration system at the hotel’s pool, may be the cause of the deaths. The Downtown Inn is owned by an influential Thai family, and the mayor of the city is related to the owner, thus fueling allegations that the government is not fully investigating the deaths and perhaps protecting the hotel from responsibility.

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