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Holidaymaker reports suffering acute Gastroenteritis at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic in Egypt

4th January 2018

We've been contacted by a British tourist who was diagnosed with acute Gastroenteritis during their stay at the Thomas Cook advertised Steigenberger Aqua Magic in Egypt, commenting that they believe the food is to blame.

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The Steigenberger Aqua Magic in Hurghada

Advertised by Thomas Cook on an all-inclusive basis, the Steigenberger Aqua Magic is situated in the popular Hurghada region of Egypt and features a buffet and all-inclusive drinks, as well as access to a waterpark and use of the private beach at a nearby hotel.

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Stomach illness and potential buffet hygiene problems reported

The holidaymaker who contacted us stayed at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic in Egypt in November of last year, and they say that it only took a few days for them to develop the symptoms of a stomach illness.

They informed us that they suffered from diarrhoea, lethargy and vomiting, as well as weakness and aching, with the acute stage of their illness lasting for 10 days, but they also experienced on-going health problems afterwards. They also informed us that they were unable to return to work once they returned to the UK, meaning that not only was their holiday affected, but their ability to work was too.

When we asked them what they felt the cause of their illness was, they told us that they blamed the all-inclusive food being served at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic. They explained to us that even though they often attended the hotel buffet early on during sittings, they weren't sure whether the dishes being served were fresh or recycled from previous meals. They also commented that the temperature of the buffets was concerning at times, noting that dishes which you would expect to be piping hot were either warm or cold, adding that they believe some dishes were being left out for too long.

Seek medical advice for stomach illness on holiday

They informed their holiday rep of their condition and upon seeing how unwell they were, they were referred to a doctor who advised them that they had suffered from an acute bout of Gastroenteritis. Subsequently, they were put on a drip, given an injection and a prescription for antibiotics, and they also saw a GP once in the UK and provided a stool sample. Although tests have yet to confirm which pathogen they contracted, as they were given antibiotics, it's likely that they contracted a bacterial infection.

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Causes of Gastroenteritis in Egypt

There are many potential causes of Gastroenteritis on holiday, but we often find that some causes are more common than others. It's possible that the food temperature at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic was not adequately monitored, but it's also possible that there are other problems with food hygiene.

In our experience of speaking to sick holidaymakers, we find that British holidaymakers usually get ill through the food poisoning route of infection. This is often due to contamination, something which can occur at any stage of the supply process, from the very start of the supply chain process to when your meal is in front of you.

Contamination can occur in a variety of ways, such as through cross-contamination, wherein utensils used to handle raw produce are also used on items that have been cooked, with faecal matter contamination being a big contributor to the spread of harmful bacteria and parasites.

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Food hygiene responsibility on an all-inclusive holiday

If you become unwell after eating at an all-inclusive buffet on a package holiday, then regardless of which stage of the supply chain contamination occurred, your tour operator may be to blame. This is because your tour operator is responsible for ensuring that they take reasonable steps to ensure your safety abroad, and one of these steps is to make sure that the all-inclusive food that is made available to you is fit for human consumption.

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Find out if you can make a 'no win no fee' claim

It only takes a few minutes for a member of our travel law team to assess your case during a free no-obligation consultation. Once we've assessed your case, we can advise you if we believe that making a claim under The Package Travel Regulations 1992 is the best option for you, including whether we can represent you on a 'no win no fee' basis.

Alice Hellewell - Paralegal, Holiday Claims

Contact us for free no-obligation holiday illness claims advice

To find out more about claiming compensation; contact Alice Hellewell by filling in our enquiry form and we will call you back, or call us directly on 0808 145 1353.

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