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Investigation completed

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Thai authorities now agree that tourists who died mysteriously in Chiang Mai earlier this year were probably killed by pesticides. 

The Downtown Inn of Chiang Mai is where six victims died, including Sarah Carter, 23, of New Zealand.

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Insecticide likely sickened inn guests


Thai authorities have completed their investigation into the deaths of five tourists and a Thai tour guide at Downtown Inn Hotel in Chiang Mai, identifying the likely causes of some of the deaths as insecticides.

The Disease Control Department's five-month probe covered six deaths and illness in three other people in Chiang Mai between Jan 11 and Feb 19. The report pointed to likely causes of death, but could not confirm the agents.

Chemical and tissue samples were sent to certified laboratories in Thailand, the United States, Japan and Germany during the investigation.

Health experts concluded that Soraya Pandola, a 33-year-old American woman, died on Jan 11 from exposure to a chemical, most likely a rodenticide. Yet the exact agent could not be identified. Her Canadian friend fell ill but recovered. They stayed together in the hotel.

The experts concluded that a 25-year-old French woman who died on Jan 19 had evidence of inflammation of her heart muscles due to viral infection rather than exposure to a poison.

In the case of three New Zealand women who were sickened, the 23-year-old who died on Feb 6 had abnormal acid levels in her circulatory system, while the other two who fell ill suffered heart muscle injuries.

Abnormal rhythm of the heartbeat was the most likely cause of death for Waraporn Pungmahisiranon, a 47-year-old Thai woman, a tour guide who stayed in a room adjacent to the New Zealanders.

The investigators said the cause of their illnesses was likely the same due to the proximity of their rooms.

The investigators concluded that they were likely exposed to chemicals commonly found in pesticides, based on blood and biological test results from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and German labs.

"Despite the best efforts of the Thai authorities and their international partners, the specific agent that caused the deaths and illnesses in these events cannot be identified or determined exactly how the people might have been exposed to them," the statement said.

It also said a panel would be set up to investigate and recommend stricter measures for the use of chemicals including pesticides in hotel and market areas.

victims – people who are killed injured or harmed in some way from an accident, natural disaster, crime, etc. เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย
insecticide  – a chemical used for killing insects ยาฆ่าแมลง, ยากำจัดแมลง
guest – a person who is staying at a hotel, etc  แขก,ลูกค้า,ผู้มาพักอาศัย
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
investigation – the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something in order to discover who or what caused it or how it happened การตรวจสอบหาข้อเท็จจริง
identify – to recognise something and understand what it is ระบุชื่อ
likely – probable or expected น่าจะเป็นไปได้
probe – an investigation  การสอบสวน
agent – a chemical or a substance that produces an effect or a change or is used for a particular purpose  แรงหรือสิ่งตามธรรมชาติที่ใช้เพื่อผลเฉพาะอย่าง
tissue – the substance that animal and plant cells are made of เนื้อเยื้อ
sample – a small amount of a substance that is used for scientific or medical tests ตัวอย่างทดลอง
certified – having a document confirming that someone or something meets a necessary standard ที่มีการรับรอง
laboratory – a room or building used for scientific research, experiments, testing, etc  ห้องปฏิบัติการ, ห้องทดลอง
conclude – to decide that something is true after looking at all the evidence you have สรุป
exposure –  the state of being put into a situation in which something harmful or dangerous might affect you การสัมผัส, การเปิดรับ
rodenticide – chemicals intended to kill rodents, e.g., rats
recover – to become healthy and fit again after an illness or injury การฟื้นไข้
evidence – facts, signs or objects that make you believe that something is true หลักฐาน,ข้อแสดง
inflammation – a red, painful and often swollen area in or on a part of your body การอักเสบ, การติดเชื้อ
muscle – a piece of body tissue that you contract and relax in order to move a particular part of the body; the tissue that forms the muscles of the body  กล้ามเนื้อ
abnormal – not usual or typical ผิดปกติ ไม่ธรรมดา
acid  – a chemical, usually a liquid, that contains hydrogen and has a pH of less than seven. The hydrogen can be replaced by a metal to form a salt. Acids are usually sour and can often burn holes in or damage things they touch. กรด
level – the amount of something that exists in a particular situation at a particular time  ระดับ
circulatory system – the system involved in the movement of blood around the body ระบบไหลเวียน
suffer – to experience something very unpleasant or painful ประสบ
injury – physical damage done to a person or a part of their body อาการบาดเจ็บ
due to – because of เนื่องจาก
infection – a disease or medical condition that is caused by a bacteria or by a virus or a parasite การติดเชื้อ
rhythm – a regular pattern of movement or sound จังหวะ
heartbeat – the movement or sound of the heart as it sends blood around the body  การเต้นของหัวใจ
adjacent - very near, next to, or touching ติดกัน
proximity - the state of being near in space or time ความใกล้ชิด
pesticide – a chemical used for killing insects, especially those that damage crops ยาฆ่าแมลง
specific – detailed and exact โดยเฉพาะ, เฉพาะเจาะจง
determine – to discover something by examining evidence to or calculate something กำหนด, ระบุ, แสดงผล
panel – a group of people who make decisions or judgments คณะกรรมการ
recommend – to advise someone that they should do something  แนะนำ
strict – very careful and exact เข้มงวด
measure – a firm action taken to solve a problem or stop an a dangerous unpleasant situation มาตราการ

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