E. Coli 0157 on Holiday Guide

E. Coli, although usually harmless, is the more frequent sort of food poisoning that our holiday solicitors help claimants to claim compensation for. It is a common illness in many of the popular holiday destinations that UK travellers visit every year. On this webpage, we aim to explain how harmful the bacteria is, what you should do and how you can take action against your holiday provider if you came down with the sickness.

What is E. Coli?

E. Coli is bacteriological microorganism that exists in many type of strains. The medical term for E. Coli is Escherichia Coli and is named after a bacteriologist called Theodor Escherich. It is naturally found in the intestines and plays a vital role in the digestive system to absorb essential vitamins from food. These kind of bacterial strains are friendly and do not harm you. However, some are harmful to people and can cause trouble whether you are in the UK or abroad, particularly the E. Coli strain 0157:H7.

Contrary to what some people believe, E.Coli bacteria can be harmless…

How Can You Get E. Coli on Holiday?

Escherichia Coli 0157 was first discovered back in 1982 by a group of researchers at Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since then, this strain has developed into a worldwide problem causing diarrhoea, vomiting and ruins holiday breaks for tourists. It can cause complications such as urinary tract infections or lead to something serious like anaemia or kidney failure.

The main reason for many vacationers to contract E. Coli and get food poisoning is through drinking contaminated water. With many holiday destinations located in developing countries, it is no surprise to find no water filtration system in place that residents in the UK are accustomed to. Most resorts will tell you not to drink tap water as it is not drinking water and may have E. Coli or other diseases.

Swimming pools in most resorts and hotals are another area where E. Coli can develop. Without proper treatment, the pool water can be harmful if accidently swallowed. Fortunately, most places in foreign are aware of the dangers and will have an infrastructure in place to keep the water safe for their guests. The common chemical used for such process is usually chlorine which helps to protect from spreading infection between pool users.

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Eating Disease-ridden Food Abroad

Food is another common source of the E. Coli bacteria and can pass the contagion without showing any signs or symptoms of being infected. Animal livestock can spread the harmful strain through direct or secondary contact and transfer from their derivatives.

The two foremost sources of by-products which contain the E. Coli strain found in foreign hotels and resorts are meat and dairy products. It is important to ensure that dairy products are made from treated pasteurised milk which has harmful impurities eliminated. Most people are only offered food that is made with pasteurised milk but regular milk can exist in some places.

Meat should be cooked thoroughly to remove any damaging bacteria. However, in the kitchen meat is not always prepared as advised and where uncooked food is handled next to cooked meat, there is a high risk of cross contamination. Resort or hotel owners do have the responsibility to ensure that their chefs are aware of the proper procedure in handling meat and other food, and receive training in hygiene.

Symptoms of E. Coli Sufferers

Infection of E. Coli can cause severe diarrhoea and abdominal pain or awful stomach cramps. In some cases the diarrhoea can be serious when it is bloody and may induce vomiting and fever. For children and the elderly, there is a risk of developing haemolytic uremic syndrome which can affect the kidneys.

As this bacteria shares symptom with other holiday illnesses, it is not easy to recognise the sickness as being related to the E. Coli strain. Seek advice from a doctor or a medical expert onsite where possible to help diagnose and identify the infection.

Does E. Coli Infection Clear Up?

Symptoms of E. Coli is usually apparent after three to four days of contact or consumption, although there have been cases where signs are developed within two weeks. Normally, a week later most people would have recovered from E. Coli infection, yet it may take longer for those whose immune system is weak.

In some people, a severe E. Coli infection can lead to problems with the kidneys and blood, particularly those with the haemolytic uremic syndrome. These concerns can develop into long term complications where the body is not strong enough to fight the infection. However, these cases are rare.

Before Contacting The Tour Operator

Obviously, you will seek medical advice and treatment immediately if you are ill abroad with the E. Coli strain. It is important that your health is restored as soon as possible. Subsequently, it is crucial that you seek advice from a holiday sickness solicitor before you do the next task of submitting a formal complaint to the tour operator.

As travel law experts, we know that a tour operator will avoid having to pay any compensation and will attempt to deal with any direct complaints in the most cost effective way for them. This means that you may be offered a lower settlement figure than you deserve. They may suggest accepting low value token vouchers or cause delays to inconvenience you in the hope you will drop the claim. Another tactic often used is that the tour operator may refuse to acknowledge that you have a valid claim and that you became ill from another source.

Claim For Sickness Advice

After you have been diagnosed with E. Coli by a medical professional, contact our holiday sickness specialist solicitors to file a claim for compensation. You can give us a call on 0800 2922 182 or email us to tell us more about your situation and find out if you have a valid claim. Do expect some unanticipated questions once you appoint us as we aim to ensure that we build a strong case for holiday sickness compensation.

One of the things we like to know is the name of your tour guide or representative who you told about your issues and have been dealing with. Often, we ask if you have exchanged contact details with other guests at the holiday accommodation, particularly those who also may have suffered from the same illness. This can strengthen your E. Coli file and increase the success rate if a group of victims claim together for illness compensation.

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