THOMAS Cook have today confirmed high levels of e-coli were found at the Egypt hotel where a Brit couple died suddenly last month.
The travel giant revealed the results of independent tests conducted at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel that showed the presence of the food poison bug – as well as bacteria linked to deadly toxic shock syndrome.
Experts analysing food and hygiene standards at the resort identified a high level of e-coli and staphylococcus bacteria.
But Thomas Cook insists the results do not shed “any light on the still unexplained cause of death” of British holidaymakers John and Susan Cooper.
The couple, from Burnley, Lancs, died within hours of each other at their Hurghada resort on 21 August.
Their deaths were initially recorded as being down to heart and respiratory failure — but a postmortem is due to be carried out.
John, 69 died in his room after collapsing on his bed, while wife Susan, 64, was rushed to hospital but later succumbed to the mystery illness.
Thomas Cook’s commissioned an independent hygiene specialist and air quality specialist to test the hotel amid fears they may have come to harm through the air conditioning food or water.
Reporting the results today, the company revealed:
- There was no evidence of carbon monoxide and normal levels of carbon dioxide in and around the Coopers’ hotel room
- Tests on the swimming pools showed normal levels of chlorine
- The tests did not identify the presence of shigella, listeria or salmonella
- But tests on the food and hygiene standards identified a high level of e-coli and staphylococcus bacteria — which can cause blood poisoning and toxic shock
In a statement the firm said their specialists did not see a link between the e-coli discovery and the tragic deaths.
It said: “neither our independent specialists nor Doctor Vanya Gant believe that these results shed any light on the still unexplained cause of death of Mr and Mrs Cooper.
“We await the results of the autopsies being conducted by the Egyptian authorities.”
Thomas Cook chief executive Peter Fankhauser added: “These results, while not establishing the cause of the tragic deaths of John and Susan Cooper, have prompted us to commit further resource to tackle hygiene standards in those hotels where we identify a higher than average level of sickness.”
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The room where the couple died has since been sealed off and a “do not disturb” sign hangs from its handle, with guards stationed outside it around the clock.
Following the deaths, it emerged the hotel had been hit by dozens of sickness complaints.
And it has now revealed that on Friday guests had a note put under their doors advising them “water pipelines cleansing” would be taking place and advising them not to use taps in their rooms.
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