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Couple’s dream holiday ‘ruined’ after catching E.coli at luxury hotel in Egypt

A couple claim their dream honeymoon was ‘ruined’ after picking up E.coli and a gastric infection at a luxury hotel in Egypt.

Myfanwy Bunting, 50, her husband Dean, 49 and their daughter Edan, eight, are part of a group of 36 holidaymakers who all reported falling ill while staying at the five-star Jaz Aquamarine hotel in Hurghada between January and the end of October 2019.

The pair, from Rhoose, had booked the getaway using money they had been gifted at their wedding.

They flew out on July 22, but just three days into the two week trip Dean and Edan started feeling unwell – with Myfanwy falling ill just one day later, Wales Online reports.

Their symptoms included diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, fever, sweats and lethargy.

On August 5 the family arrived back in the UK. Edan’s symptoms had subsided by then but Dean and Myfanwy were still struggling. Myfanwy, a self-employed property manager, said: “Our wedding guests had all given us money for our honeymoon and we were all really looking forward to it so I felt awful having to tell them it was wasted as we spent most of our time unwell.

“While we were there we noticed that the hotel kept shutting the pools for long periods of time. We were also concerned over the food not being handled well in the restaurants. We even saw some people picking up food, tasting it, and then putting it back.

Myfanwy was diagnosed with E.coli and related bacterial infection shigella.

“After we fell ill we spoke to our reps and hotel staff but we feel like they just fobbed us off and tried telling us that it was because we weren’t used to the heat or the spicy food. But we were certain this wasn’t the reason.”

On August 6 Myfanwy consulted her GP about the ongoing symptoms and underwent testing. She was subsequently diagnosed with E. coli and the closely-related bacterial infection shigella. Myfanwy said: “I’ve never been so poorly but it was still a huge shock when I found out I had E. coli as well as another gastric infection. It’s not something you expect to have to deal with on your honeymoon.

“Our holiday was ruined and Dean and I still suffer from gastric problems to this day. While nothing will make up for what we’ve been through we just want answers now and to know if anything else could have been done to stop it happening to others.”

On October 14, 2019, Dean Cook, 55, and his wife Linda, from Ton Pentre, also visited the hotel for a two-week holiday. Within four days Linda began to suffer from diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, fever and sweats.

A day later Dean fell ill with gastric symptoms. Upon returning home on October 28 the pair consulted their GP. By November 6 Dean had begun to rally though he had lost seven pounds. Linda was unwell for around eight weeks and lost about 10lbs and says she still has ongoing issues today.

Dean, a semi-retired supply teacher, said: “We were really looking forward to our holiday which we had booked to celebrate my semi-retirement. But it was not the holiday we had hoped for. It was clear something wasn’t right as at one point – staff were going around asking people if they had suffered from illness.

Dean and Linda lost 17lbs between them due to the illness.
Dean and Linda lost 17lbs between them due to the illness.

“I also noticed that the food in the restaurant was left uncovered and raw and cooked meats were being handled with the same utensils. I’ve stayed in similar hotels which have been immaculate but this one was a world apart in cleanliness. It was shocking to see and hear how many people were unwell. It just got worse and worse as the holiday went on.”

Specialist international serious injury experts at Irwin Mitchell are not investigating the cause of their illnesses and are now pursuing legal action through the courts. Hannah Clifford, the specialist international serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing those affected, said: “To hear that so many people were struck down with debilitating illness after staying at Hurghada’s Jaz Aquamarine hotel is deeply concerning.

“Our clients were understandably looking forward to their holidays and were left devastated when they developed gastric symptoms. These types of illnesses can lead to severe long-term conditions and should never be downplayed.”

A TUI spokesperson said: “We are sorry to hear of these experiences at the Jaz Aquamarine Hotel. As this is now a legal matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time. We’d like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all of our hotels in respect to health and safety, including hygiene.”

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