Tag Archives: vacation

Canadian sisters ‘found dead and covered in vomit and skin lesions’ in Thai hotel room after contracting ‘serious food poisoning’

Canadian sisters ‘found dead and covered in vomit and skin lesions’ in Thai hotel room after contracting ‘serious food poisoning’

Two Canadian sisters have been found dead in their hotel room in Thailand.

Thai police suspect Audrey and Noemi Belanger, aged 20 and 26, may have succumbed to ‘serious food poisoning.’

Officials said the sisters were covered in vomit, had skin lesions and were bleeding from their gums. Both women’s fingernails and toenails were blue and had blood under them.
Poisoned: Thai police suspect Audrey and Noemi Belanger, pictured, may have been poisoned in Thailand

The popular college students, who were from a small town in Quebec, near the border with Maine, were discovered by a maid at the Phi Phi Palm Residence Hotel on the popular tourist resort island of Phi Phi on Friday, according to the Bangkok Post.

Lt Col Rat Somboon, of the Krabi Provincial Police, guessed the women had been dead for between 12 and 20 hours when their bodies were discovered.

The sisters’ bodies will undergo autopsies shortly to confirm how they died.

Police suspect food poisoning and said initial investigations did not indicate any violence in their hotel room. Investigators have ruled out foul play.

‘There were neither signs of fighting, nor robbery, but we found many kinds of over-the-counter-drugs, including ibuprofen, which can cause serious effects on the stomach,’ police Lt Col Jongrak Pimthong said.

The women, from a well-know family the town of Pohenegamook, about 150 miles northeast of Quebec City, had checked into the hotel on Tuesday.

‘They went out and came back to their room that same night, but stayed in their room all day on Wednesday,’ Lt Siwa Saneha of Phi Phi Island police told the Phuket Gazette.

‘A maid knocked on the door to clean the room on Thursday, but there was no response, so the maid thought the women needed more rest and left.’

He said that it wasn’t until yesterday that the hotel staff became concerned for their welfare and used the master key to enter the room.

‘There was a lot of vomit in the room, and both bodies showed similar signs [of trauma]. They had skin lesions and it seemed that they had bled from the gums. Also, their fingernails and toenails were blue,’ Col Somboon told the newspaper.

‘We will have experts conduct tests on the vomit and urine samples taken from the scene to try to determine the cause of death.’

The women’s bodies are now being kept at Krabi Hospital in Krabi Town.

According to Canada’s Gananoque Reporter, the close knit community are mourning the death of the sisters.

‘The mood is quite sad in the town today,’ said Joanie Ouellet, a former collage of one of the sisters,

The sisters’ great-aunt, Colette Belanger, said she heard about the deaths on the news.

‘I doubted that it was Audrey and Noemi,’ she said.

Phi Phi Island in the Andaman sea is 500 miles south of Bangkok.

In a similar case in May 2009, an American woman and a Norwegian woman died after suffering severe vomiting and dehydration at a Phi Phi guesthouse. The cause of death was never determined.

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Obama’s urgent jobs plan: ‘Right now’ means sometime next month…after vacation… maybe

Obama’s urgent jobs plan: Right now, ‘right now’ means sometime next month maybe

Everybody remembers the urgency of President Obama’s attitude toward the awful jobs situation.

Back in early August, Obama said the jobs situation was so urgent that he was going to give another speech about it — in a month or so, in September after his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.

And then in September the president announced he would give his major jobs speech to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 7. But he neglected to check with congressional leaders first. And they suggested the 8th. So, since it was their House, the 8th it was.

“Tonight,” the president said in the first 34 of his 4,021 words to a national television audience that night, “we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that has made things worse.”

The speech got panned as another political campaign one with Obama announcing, in effect, that….
…since the first stimulus spending plan of $787 billion hadn’t really worked, maybe another $447 billion stimulus spending plan would.

This is the kind of thinking that can make sense within Washington. But since “stimulus” has become a laugh line, he didn’t use that word anymore.

And, hey, the debt ceiling had been raised to $16 trillion. (Speaking of which the president speaks on the debt this morning in another speech because he’s a Real Good Talker.) So why not spend a half-trillion more to look like he’s doing something about the terrible jobs situation with 14+ million unemployed?

If Republicans didn’t bite, no one would know Obama’s Plan B was never going to work anyway. And he could try to blame the GOP next year for failing schools and rusting bridges. This also seems to make sense within WasObama prepares to speaks at the white househington these days.

The president was in such a hurry to get this new spending going, everyone remembers, that during that address he said the phrase “right now” seven times. He didn’t actually mean right now that night because the NFL season was opening a few minutes after his remarks.

But Obama did want to show how really urgent he said the situation was, even though it had taken him 961 days as president to say them. And even though from Day #1 of the brief Obama Era polls had shown jobs and the economy were the No. 1 priority among voters but he pursued healthcare and financial reforms first. And even though unemployment had been at or above 9% for 26 of the last 28 months.

So, given the president’s professed urgency, the next day, Sept. 9, everyone asked where was his jobs legislation?

And, well, it seems the urgent jobs bill hadn’t actually been written yet but should be ready in a week or two. When the laughter died, the White House said on second thought the legislation would be ready for a photo op the next Monday.

Well, here we are on the next Monday after that next Monday and we’ve just learned from the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin, that actually it seems that body won’t really be seriously getting into the legislation for a while yet. The Senate has some other more important business to handle. And then there’s this month’s congressional vacation, which in Washington is called “a recess,” like elementary school.

Here’s the revealing exchange with a persistent host Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union:”

CROWLEY: When is the bill going to get on the floor?

DURBIN: The bill is on the calendar. Majority leader Reid moved it to the calendar. It is ready and poised. There are a couple other items we may get into this week not on the bill and some related issues that may create jobs. But we’re going to move forward on the president’s bill. There will be a healthy debate. I hope the Republicans will come to…

CROWLEY: After the recess, so next month? Or when will it actually begin to act on?

DURBIN: I think that’s more realistic it would be next month.

So, as of right now, “right now” uttered on Sept. 8 really means sometime at least one month later.

Good thing the president’s own Democratic party controls the Senate. Because, otherwise, there might be some kind of silly, unnecessary delays in deliberating Obama’s urgent jobs bill that he says will surely help the nation’s unemployed millions if only those Republicans don’t connive to slow things down.


Sick of taking a Cruise? Or is the cruise making you sick?

Study suggests outbreaks on cruise ships worse than reported

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By Gene Sloan, USA TODAY
By Mic Smith, AP

The number of people who get sick during outbreaks of norovirus on cruise ships often is higher than is officially reported, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta writing this week in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases report 40% of passengers who fell ill during a closely studied outbreak of norovirus on a ship in 2009 failed to inform the vessel’s infirmary, leaving them uncounted in official tallies.

The researchers say an investigation of the outbreak while it was ongoing by Centers for Disease Control staffers who boarded the ship found that 15.4% of passengers had become sick, but only 60% of the ill passengers had made their illness known to ship officials.

The researchers did not reveal the name of the ship, but details of the voyage disclosed in the study including the length of the sailing (15 days) and total passenger count (1,842) suggest it was the Celebrity Mercury. Public records on cruise ship outbreaks maintained by the Centers for Disease Control’s Vessel Sanitation Program show the Celebrity Mercury suffered a norovirus outbreak in January 2009 when sailing for 15 days with 1,842 passengers.

The Vessel Sanitation Program’s record of the outbreak, notably, says that just 8.14% of passengers became ill during the voyage, as compared to the study’s findings that 15.4% of passengers became ill.

The researchers note the study’s findings are consistent with earlier cruise ship outbreak investigations that have found that many sick passengers don’t report their illnesses to ship infirmaries. Previous investigations have found that anywhere from just 8% to 77% of sick passengers have made their illnesses known during outbreaks.

The researchers say data from questionnaires given to passengers during the January 2009 outbreak show many passengers did not report their illnesses because they didn’t feel all that sick and/or had their own medications to treat symptoms. But, perhaps more troubling for cruise lines trying to reduce the spread of illness on ships, a number of passengers said they didn’t report symptoms because they wanted to avoid being ordered into isolation while on vacation.

A small number of passengers also said they did not report their illness to the infirmary because they were worried about having to pay for treatment. The researchers note the line was offering free treatment for outbreak-related illness, so such a response highlights “the importance of proper communication” to passengers during an outbreak.

Norovirus is a common, highly contagious gastro-intestinal illness that causes vomiting and diarrhea, and it is known to break out in settings with close living quarters such as school dormitories, nursing homes and cruise ships. The cruise industry has worked hard in recent years to reduce the number and severity of outbreaks of norovirus and other gastro-intestinal illnesses, and the total number of outbreaks recorded on ships has been on the decline (The Cruise Lines International Association, which represents major cruise lines, posts information on what the industry is doing to prevent norovirus outbreaks at cruiseindustryfacts.com).

The researchers say the 2009 outbreak they studied likely was brought on board the ship by a passenger, noting that several passengers were reported to have gastro-intestinal illness symptoms during embarkation and one vomited in a public area.

The researchers suggest more incentives are needed to convince sick passengers boarding ships to report their illness immediately upon boarding or to delay their trip altogether.

“Incentives to encourage ill passengers to report their illness to ship personnel may help to prevent the introduction of norovirus onto cruise ships and enable more timely interventions, particularly if aggressive sanitation measures are adopted at the first signs of a possible outbreak,” stated the researcher.
Posted Mar 24 2011 9:11AM