High level of E coli and bacteria found at Egypt hotel where couple died
Egypt High level of E coli and bacteria found at Egypt hotel where couple died
Thomas Cook finds high level of staphylococcus bacteria, which can cause toxic shock
Thomas Cook has found high levels of E coli and bacteria that can cause toxic shock syndrome at the Red Sea hotel in Egypt where two British tourists died suddenly last month.
The tour operator carried out investigations at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel in Hurghada in the wake of the death s of John and Susan Cooper, a couple aged 69 and 63, from Burnley who were on a family holiday.
The company announced on Wednesday that tests on food and hygiene standards at the all-inclusive hotel identified a high level of E coli and staphylococcus bacteria. The latter most often causes skin infections but can also cause blood poisoning and toxic shock syndrome which can be rapidly fatal if not treated promptly, according to the NHS.
E coli causes severe stomach illness and life-threatening kidney failure in a small minority of cases. Thomas Cook said it was now clear that âsomething went wrong in August at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada and that standards fell below what we expect from our hotel partnersâ.
Guests reported that some people were so ill that they defecated involuntarily in the swimming pools and complained of being served undercooked and raw chicken and drinks from dirty glasses.
âIt is likely that the presence of E coli and staphylococcus would explain the raised level of illness reported among guests at the hotel during this time, supporting Thomas Cookâs decision to remove our 300 customers,â the tour operator said.
Tests on the air and water quality came back clear as did checks on the swimming pools, which showed normal levels of chlorine. The companyâs experts have still not been able to access the room where the couple fell ill as it is under the control of the Egyptian authorities.
The Coopersâ daughter, Kelly Ormerod, had been with them the night before they died and reported that they used perfume to cover up a strange odour in the room.
Thomas Cookâs results were assessed by Dr Vanya Gant, a clinical director in microbiology and infection at University College London hospitals. The tour operator said Gant did not believe the findings âshed any light on the still unexplained cause of deathâ and it awaited the results of the autopsies being conducted by the Egyptian authorities.
The Red Sea governorate originally described the incident as: âNormal death of an English old man and his wife.â Dr Maged Eladawy, the head of Hurghada hospital, claimed Sue Cooper, 63, had died âof griefâ.
Thomas Cookâs chief executive, Peter Fankhauser, said: âWe are working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to ensure we prioritise the very best interests of the Cooper family.
âHowever, the tests that Thomas Cook commissioned and announced today show that hygiene at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel during the month of August did not meet the standards we expect. I am very sorry for all our customers who fell ill while on a Thomas Cook holiday at this hotel.
âThese results, while not establishing the cause of the tragic deaths of John and Susan Cooper, have prompted us to commit further resource to tackle hygiene standards in those hotels where we identify a higher than average level of sickn ess.â
The German hotel company Steigenberger has previously said that the Aqua Magic hotel in Hurghada was operated by a franchisee and that it had launched its own investigation into standards.
- Thomas Cook
- Middle East and North Africa
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