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My son just returned from diving into the river trying to rescue the first aussie killed this year. Despite finding the young man, CPR and mouth to mouth by a very brave Norwegian young woman....the man died. My son is now in hospital with a bacterial infection. Coincidence? I think more Danger warnings would be appropriate but most of all where is all the urine and feces going?

Asked by Pamela via Site_iconWorldNomads.com

8 Answers

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    Pamela, that was very brave and admirable action by your son and the others who tried to help... but such a very sad outcome.
    Regarding the river water; There are some warnings to foreign visitors. For example this is what the Center for Disease Control says on its advice page for travel to Laos:
    Do not swim in fresh water (except in well-chlorinated swimming pools) to avoid infection with schistosomiasis. Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection often contracted through recreational water activities in contaminated water, such as kayaking, is common in tropical areas of Southeast Asia.
    Most western nations carry this warning on their travel advisory websites too (including Australia's smartraveller). Common sense would also tell you that sanitation infrastructure throughout South east Asia (particularly in rural areas such as Vang Vieng) won't be up to the usual western standard.
    I don't think we can expect the locals profiting from river tubing to put up any warning signs about water contamination - in fact along the Nam Song river are signs which say "diving safe" when clearly it is not!
    If there's any good to come from the tragedy of 2 lives lost this month because of river tubing, it's that more young people are aware of the dangers and will take appropriate precaution. To that end, I'm going to add a paragraph about what happened to your son to the worldnomads.com travel advice on Laos river tubing http://journals.worldnomads.com/safetyhub/story/61594/Laos/River-Tubing-in-Laos
    . Thanks for letting everyone know about it. I hope your son recovers quickly and there are no lasting affects. Send him my best wishes.
    Phil from the safety hub. over 6 years ago

    Answered by Ask Phil via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    I've watched YouTube on Laos ...foreigners students tend to over drink alcohol and do drugs at Vang Vien . They are young adult and should have common sense ! Im sad that those two Austrians had died there . The misfortuned could have taken place anywhere in Southeast Asia , not just Laos. over 6 years ago

    Answered by Linda via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    stupid idiots traveling around and bringing back new parasites and diseases. over 6 years ago

    Answered by Luke via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    ^ any cases Luke? Besides STDs which can be caught anywhere (or STIs, whatever floats your tube), has there been any cases where a traveller or "stupid idiot" has been to beautiful Laos and returned to transmit a new parasite or disease to another?

    Also, very courageous of your son Pamela. Deserves a pat on the back. about 6 years ago

    Answered by Steve from 4000 islands via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    The particular river in question in Vieng is part of the Mekong, so it has quite a strong current, like being caught in a RIP in the ocean. Lots of people get what is called Pink Eye,from bacterial infections. If you don't over drink it's an enjoyable experience, there are lots of signs saying if you can't swim don't jump! It is sad about the recent Aussies that died but if you are moderate it is great fun.. I jumped in the river and came out fine. Some of the bars provide toilets which are located on the river banks which are a short walk from the river. Laos is a third world country and that shouldn't be forgotten. about 6 years ago

    Answered by via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    Is it me or are the majority of deaths that occur at Tubing Australians? Does this say something about the oi oi oi culture or getting 'maggoted' beyond the point of stupidity. I have been up that river plenty of times.. You know the dangers.. Its down to you and only you to make your judgements. Laos is not a nanny state.. no health and safety therefore it is down to you to judge a situation The blame game is ridiculous. Responsibility and self respect seems to be lacking in many Australian teenagers. almost 6 years ago

    Answered by MAX via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    My Brother was the first person to die on the river this year in Laos. He had self respect. He wasn't drunk, he had only just reached the second bar.
    I remember us using rope swings when we were children into rivers and I don't think he thought it any different. He was a beautiful soul, fit, intelligent, respectful and ambitious. We were very well travelled and understood the dangers of other countries however I think he thought like many other Aussies if others had gone before him then it must be safe.
    I'd like to say when commenting have some respect for others and what they may have been through and don't assume you know the situation or people involved. My family is grieving.
    To all those that have shared their love and support thank you. almost 6 years ago

    Answered by Erin via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    Bars and games around the river in Vang Vieng are forbidden for a year now. The only risk is sunburn now.
    I agreed that a bit of self control allowed thousands of people to go down the river with no problems. I did it few times, the stupidity of young backpackers was endless! This with no more self respect than respect for Lao culture.
    almost 5 years ago

    Answered by via Site_iconWorldNomads.com

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