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All-inclusive holiday illnesses: E. Coli – common causes and how to avoid it

If your all-inclusive package holiday or cruise is ruined by E. coli, you may be able to claim compensation.

WHAT IS E. COLI AND THE EFFECTS?

E. coli is a bacterium that lives in the intestines of healthy people and animals – and is largely harmless to the body.

However, there are strains of Escherichia Coli (E. coli) which can be particularly dangerous, especially for the elderly and young children.

E. coli O157 is a strong strain that’s commonly contracted by holidaymakers. If left untreated, it produces Shiga toxins which can cause severe illness and lead to kidney failure which may prove fatal.

HOW DO YOU GET IT?

E. coli is usually contracted by eating food which has been contaminated with human or animal faeces or consuming contaminated water.

It can also be found on fruit and vegetables that have been washed in contaminated water.

Cross-contamination from cooked and uncooked meats is another way for the bacteria to spread.

Undercooked meat, minced beef, burgers and unpasteurised milk or dairy products are all foods which may contain E.coli bacteria.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • Nausea
  • Severe abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhoea – often with blood
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Sickness
  • Dehydration
  • Haemorrhagic diarrhoea – heavy blood loss (less common)

HOW LONG DOES IT LAST? AND HOW IS IT TREATED?

Symptoms usually last around a week if there are no complications. But a severe strain, which may be life threatening, may last a month or even longer.

Often, the symptoms will go away by themselves after a few days. For severe cases, a short course of antibiotics may be given.

Whether you need hospital attention or not, it’s important to focus on rehydration as diarrhoea often results in a lot of fluid loss. Special oral rehydration solutions are very effective and will replace lost substances like sodium, potassium and glucose.

TIPS TO AVOID IT…

  • Try not to swallow water when swimming in hotel pools
  • Only eat meat and foods which have been thoroughly cooked and are served piping hot
  • Avoid foods stored at incorrect or room temperatures
  • Don’t eat foods exposed to insects, flies or birds – common in all-inclusive resorts
  • Drink only pasteurised milk not raw milk
  • Prioritise hand hygiene – always wash before meals and after using toilets
  • Use an alcohol-based hand gel regularly

COULD YOU MAKE AN E. COLI COMPENSATION CLAIM?

You may be entitled to make a claim if you can answer yes to the following questions…

  • Did you book your holiday as a package deal?
  • Did you only eat food at the hotel, or on the cruise ship, before becoming ill?
  • Did you receive medical attention abroad or after you returned home?
  • Did you report your illness to the tour operator?

Don’t worry if you cannot answer yes to ALL of the above as we’ve still enjoyed many success stories where settlements have been agreed.

All our E. Coli claims are conducted on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis – so you won’t be left out of pocket if your case is unsuccessful.

OUR ADVICE

Most people don’t want to make a fuss if they’ve become ill when abroad, but we would always advise sufferers to report any food poisoning suffered whilst on holiday.

Don’t be put off by the negative publicity in the media about holiday claims. Basically, it is the responsibility of your tour operator to provide you with a safe, clean and hygienic hotel.

E. Coli can easily be prevented and your feedback helps tour operators to drive up the hygiene practices put in place by the hotel providers.

If you’ve become ill whilst on an all-inclusive holiday or cruise, get in touch and let one of our travel claims experts carefully consider the strength of your case.

With more than 50 years’ combined experience under our belt, we could help you claim the compensation you deserve for the illness you suffered, your loss of enjoyment and any other financial losses incurred as a result.

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