Dead tourist had E. coli strain, tests show

Dr Phaijit Warachit

Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr Phaijit Warachit

Lab tests on samples from a foreigner found dead at an Udon Thani hotel have detected an E. coli strain, but confirmation is pending on whether it was a communicable type, Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr Phaijit Warachit said yesterday.

Tests of the unnamed tourist’s blood and urine detected a bacteria called Plesiomonas shigelloides, which is capable of causing diarrhoea. It is a type rarely found in humans, but more often in freshwater fish and clams. The cause of death will also be investigated through police forensic work, Phaijit said.

E. coli is a bacteria common in the intestinal ducts of human and cattle. It is helpful in digestion, but a strain spreading in Europe now is communicable and has caused deaths and sickness in many countries.

A policeman who inspected the tourist’s room had diarrhoea and is now recovering.

His symptoms initially sparked fears of an outbreak since he had searched the tourist’s body and touched his passport.

Phaijit said the unnamed officer was fine now and merely suffering from normal diarrhoea.

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