E. coli infection played a role in the deaths of two British tourists in Egypt, according to the country’s authorities.
John and Susan Cooper, from Burnley in England, died while on holiday at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel in the resort of Hurghada in August. The Egyptian general prosecutor, Nabil Sadek, issued a statement saying post-mortem examinations showed E. coli bacteria was a factor in both deaths.
John Cooper, 69, had acute intestinal dysentery caused by E. coli and Susan Cooper, 63, developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure, probably due to the pathogen, Sadek added.
Kelly Ormerod, the daughter of John and Susan Cooper, who was also on the holiday at the same hotel, told English media she did not believe E. coli was the source of their deaths and is waiting for results of Home Office post-mortem examinations. The Home Office is a ministerial department of the UK government responsible for immigration, security and law and order.
Officials with the travel firm Thomas Cook said they had noted the announcement by the Egyptian prosecutor on the autopsy results of John and Susan Cooper following their deaths at the hotel in Hurghada.
“We have not yet seen the full report and we will need time for our own experts to review it. We are deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of John and Susan Cooper. We will continue to offer every support to their daughter Kelly and the rest of their family,” the company’s officials said in a statement.
Thomas Cook removed 300 customers from the hotel following the incident and is putting together a compensation package for those who were staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel during August and who told the company they were ill.
In a statement last week, Thomas Cook revealed it commissioned an independent hygiene and air quality specialist to conduct tests covering food, water and air at the hotel.
Tests on the food identified a high level of E. coli and Staphylococcus bacteria, but did not find Shigella, Listeria or Salmonella.
Thomas Cook chief executive, Peter Fankhauser, said: “(The) tests that Thomas Cook commissioned and announced … 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.”
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