January 10, 2013

"Western tourists (mostly female) visiting Southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, and Bali) are ending up dead, likely poisoned."

"Local officials have blamed the use of the insecticide DEET as an exotic ingredient in so-called 'Bucket Drinks,' or the use of Chlorpyrifos in hotel rooms. But...."

26 comments:

DCS said...

Let's make DDT legal again. A human can eat it with no ill effects. Malaria still kills millions.

Nonapod said...

Very sad and very bizarre. If it's some sort of serial killer working at these various resorts that the Thai authorities haven't been able to catch I suppose they wouldn't want to scare off tourist dollars by admitting it.

Pogo said...

We need to have an international conversation about 5-star hotel control.

JPS said...

The DEET explanation is just weird. The stuff isn't all that acutely toxic. I just looked up the oral LD50 in rats. They range from 1,750 to 2,800 mg of DEET per kg of body weight.

So take the lowest estimate (most toxic), and suppose a 50-kg woman is drinking the spiked drink. So 1.75 g/kg times 50 kg of her weight gives us 87.5g DEET. DEET has nearly the same density as water.

That's about three fluid ounces to kill a smallish woman, more to kill the average guy. Not saying it can't happen, but the drink should taste and smell absolutely horrible.

edutcher said...

f they're there as "sex tourists", maybe the hotel maids are getting Junoesque.

What would jimbino say, we're supposed to be the theistic prudes of the world?

edutcher said...

s/b "If", not f

chickelit said...

The structure of chlorpyrifos and mechanism of action reminds me a bit of sarin.

Bob Ellison said...

JPS, it was my understanding that there would be no math.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Strange story. Wouldnt there been one "victim" brought home and autopsied?

Surfed said...

Terrorism. Killing Americans one at a time. Allah Akbar.

gerry said...

Why pay to die in a 5-star hotel when a room-by-the-hour in an industrial district will do the same job for far less?

Christopher said...

Very sad and chilling. But my God what a horrible cloying writer this Deborah Blum is. Hopefully there's a browser plugin that will prevent me from ever accidentally reading her again.

Virgil Hilts said...

In the U.s. there are about 30,000 accidental poisoning deaths per year. My guess is that at least a few dozen of those deaths were of tourists, and that you could write the same story about tourists to the U.S. mysteriously dying of poisoning. Accidental poisoning occurs a lot more than people think and may be more prevalent in less developed countries. Just sayin!

Alex said...

Maybe the Vietnamese and Thai people don't appreciate fat fuck Westerners coming over and raping their daughters. You think?

Paul said...

DEET? That's the main ingredient in OFF!

Something else is going on, like a bunch of swingers partying with drugs.

Those countries are well known for prostitution, pedophilea, and other weird things as David Carradine showed everyone.

Levi Starks said...

I've been to Thailand,
In the Navy,
In the 70's,
Most sailors weren't looking for DEET.

Lyle said...

Ah, the world is still mostly poor and backwards.



William said...

Do women go to Thailand as sex tourists? If there really is a serial murderer behind this, he will inspire more movies than Jack the Ripper.

David said...

Why Althouse does not travel overseas.

Peter said...

Sounds like a tale that belongs in 1920s Chicago, with speakeasy patrons dropping dead from the methanol and mercury bichloride and other toxic substances that tended to find their way into re-distilled industrial (denatured) alcohol.

Paul said...

And Peter don't forget the U.S. Government POISONED the alcohol and killed over 10,000 people who drank the poisoned moonshine during prohibition.

Plus the Tuskee experiments in the '50s and God knows what else they have done to the population over the years.

Yet we trust our government.

MarkD said...

You trust our government.

RonF said...

DEET is not an insecticide. It's a repellent. Contact with it doesn't kill insects. DDT is an insecticide, but I cannot think why anyone would put it in a drink except to kill someone.

RonF said...

DEET is not an insecticide. It's a repellent. Contact with it doesn't kill insects. DDT is an insecticide, but I cannot think why anyone would put it in a drink except to kill someone.

KLDAVIS said...

Been to Thailand and Vietnam multiple times, also Cambodia, and never been ill during my visits. The #1 thing you can do to stay safe while traveling is not to visit night clubs. Reading these descriptions, I would bet all of these mysterious victims violated this rule.

Levi Starks said...

Oh, now you want to talk about DDT?
Actually it's not very harmful to humans at all. It is very effective when used against some insects, and when ingested by some birds results in the thinning of egg shells.
One of it's best uses is against mosquitoes.
I've heard some quite large estimates as to the number of human lives lost to malaria due to the reduction in DDT use.
But Rachel Green wasn't worried about humans.