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Holiday illness on a cruise

£9,000 compensation following "excruciating" salmonella food poisoning on Nile cruise

A holidaymaker has been awarded sizeable damages after becoming seriously ill on an Egyptian river cruise.

Accompanied by his partner, our client took the trip on the MS Nile Vision between 30 January and 6 February 2013.

The South Yorkshire couple noticed from the start that the ship looked "a bit dated", particularly in comparison to the vessel depicted in the holiday firm's brochure.

Salmonella food poisoning on Nile cruise

"We had booked to stay on an all-inclusive basis, so all our food and drinks were included in the £1,730 price," our client explained.

Food might have been "recycled"

The couple noticed that some of the food seemed to be recycled, with chicken served at one meal reappearing in a subsequent curry.

"The food was never that hot, but mostly lukewarm," our client said. "At no time did I see anyone checking the temperature, [and] we noticed that when they brought fresh food out to the buffet they would pour it on top of the old stuff."

Onboard sanitation was lacking

Our client, 51 at the time, added that there appeared to be no sanitation systems on the vessel.

"There wasn't even hand gel available for guests to use at the entrance to the restaurant. At no time did I see any of the restaurant staff wearing gloves or hairnets."

3 days into the 8-day holiday, after a lunch of cold, ill-tasting chicken and a dinner of similarly abnormal beef, both of which meals the couple abandoned shortly after beginning to eat, our client was woken by "excruciating" stomach cramps.

"I had to walk around the cabin to try and ease my discomfort, but within half-an-hour I was in the toilet with explosive diarrhoea. At the same time my temperature went through the roof and I felt really nauseous."

Confined to cabin for the rest of holiday

Food poisoning on holiday complaints leading to IV drips for unhappy holidaymakers

The following morning the couple called for a doctor. "I was given intravenous antibiotics and 3 types of tablets, for which my holiday insurance policy obliged me to pay £60 excess."

The illness forced the couple to spend the remainder of their holiday in their cabin, eating little and unable to participate in the activities and excursions for which they had paid so much.

Gastric troubles continued for months

On returning to the UK, our client was diagnosed with the 'Kentucky' strain of the bacterium salmonella.

"I thought that after the holiday it would be just a matter of days until I got better," our client noted. "But my illness carried on. For about 3 months I felt totally drained and lacking in energy. I'm normally fit and active.

"I still have to stay away from dairy products like milk and cheese, as well as fish and some meats."

Holiday company was liable

Simpson Millar LLP's Simon Lomax, acting for the claimant against the holiday firm Co-operative Group Travel Ltd, noted the provision of cooking, washing and preparation of food and drink are matters entirely within the control of the cruise operator and its agents.

"Ordinarily, food that's properly cooked and prepared should not cause illness, and it certainly shouldn't be contaminated with harmful pathogens like salmonella," Simon said.

"The services and facilities aboard the MS Nile Vision should have been provided with sufficient care to ensure the safety of its passengers. Unfortunately for our client, this clearly wasn't the case.

"The consequences threaten to linger for a long time, and are potentially life-changing."

Never again, says client

Following a compensation award of £9,000, our client said that he had never been as ill in his life as he was on the MS Nile Vision. "I wouldn't wish what I've been through on my worst enemy."

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