Mystery tourist death sparks E coli alarm
By THE NATION
The Public Health Ministry is investigating the death of a 66-year-old British man at a hotel in the northeastern province of Udon Thani after developing severe diarrhoea for two days.
The health agency has taken samples from his body and sent them to Udon Thani Medical Science Centre for laboratory testing for the European strain of E coli.
The result is expected to be released in two days, the ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Paijit Warachit said.
British native Daniel Forges arrived Thailand on June 5 and developed acute diarrhoea 12-13 days later .
“Preliminary results showed the cause of his death was not Escherichia coli O104 [the deadly European strain],” Pajit said.
“If this man was infected with E coli O104, his severe diarrhoea would have developed within 10 days of his arrival in Thailand,” Paijit added.
Meanwhile, an investigator, Police Lieutenant Veerachon Khonthai, who had conducted the investigation into the death of Daniel, developed acute diarrhoea on Monday night after eating at a restaurant in Udon Thani.
He had contact with Daniel’s personal documents, such as his passport, but frequently washed his hands and took medicinal drugs.
Doctors told him he might have been suffering from food poisoning. If a victim of the new strain of E coli, he would have developed the symptoms three to four days after infection.
Udon Thani provincial public health office has placed people such as hotel staff under surveillance in case of infection by bacteria from the restaurant Veerachon visited.
To control the spread of E coli bacterium in Thailand, the Disease Control Department will meet today to evaluate the E coli situation and investigate measures to prevent the spread of disease around the country.
Good hygienic practices when cooking and eating are recommended to prevent the infection, Paijit said.
To date, 633,206 people are reported to have been stricken by digestive system disease. Of this number 583,501 fell ill from severe diarrhoea and 44,555 cases were suffering from food poisoning.
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