Racing driver and girlfriend both die from mystery illnesses after trip together

A racing driver and his girlfriend have died after developing fever, pain, and red rashes on their bodies.

Race car driver Douglas Costa and his girlfriend, Mariana Giordano, first developed symptoms on 3 June. Douglas, who was taking part in the AMG Cup Brasil – a motorsport competition for Mercedes-Benz cars, was taken to a private hospital in Jundiai, Brazil.

The 42-year-old’s death was reported to local media on 8 June. It is being investigated as suspected dengue, spotted fever, and leptospirosis. Mariana, a dentist, was taken to a hospital in Sao Paulo. Her death will also be investigated as the same suspected illnesses.

Dengue is an acute viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, characterised by headache, fever, pains in the joints, and skin rash. Spotted fever is any of various severe febrile diseases characterised by small irregular spots on the skin, as in Rocky Mountain spotted fever or tick fever.

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And leptospirosis is any of several infectious diseases caused by spirochaete bacteria of the genus Leptospira, transmitted to humans by animals and characterised by jaundice, meningitis, and kidney failure.

Douglas, who was also an entrepreneur, was buried in Itupeva on 9th June, while Mariana was laid to rest in Sao Paulo. According to the Epidemiological Surveillance of Jundiai, the couple had visited a rural area in Campinas prior to 3rd June and another in Camanducaia on 3 June and 4 June.

The City Hall of Camanducaia said in a statement: “Considering that the patients visited the district of Monte Verde on the day the symptoms began, it is unlikely that spotted fever was contracted there, due to the incubation period of the disease, which varies from two to 14 days.”

Mariana Giordano developed symptoms after her boyfriend
Mariana Giordano developed symptoms after her boyfriend

The authorities added that the municipality had not reported cases of spotted fever or star ticks for over 20 years.

But, it added: “Even with the probable contamination originating outside the district, all necessary epidemiological investigation actions will be carried out to ensure the health of all residents and tourists.” Biological samples will be sent to the Adolpho Lutz Institute on 12 June to determine the couple’s cause of death.

Mariana’s brother, Marcio Giordano, paid tribute to the late couple, writing: “In the short time that you two were together, you had an intense connection, but given that not everything lasts forever, you left, leaving a huge void in all our hearts. And nothing, not even time, will erase that.”

Douglas Costa was competing in the AMG Cup Brasil
Douglas Costa was competing in the AMG Cup Brasil

He said about Douglas: “We met in Interlagos, we became friends, and before I knew it, you became my brother-in-law, and what a brother-in-law you were, a good guy. Thank you for everything, pilot. You will be greatly missed in our race gatherings.”

In a statement, the AMG Cup Brasil said: “To all family members and friends, our deepest condolences. We know how admirable Douglas was as a person and how he will undoubtedly leave a great void in the hearts of everyone who had the honour and pleasure of knowing him.”

And one of Mariana’s patients wrote on social media: “She always had a new recipe for my pain. She took care of me so well. God must need good, generous people by his side because there is no other explanation.”

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