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Egypt coroner says E. coli led to deaths of British couple

John and Susan Cooper were on holiday in an upmarket Red Sea resort [Facebook]

Date of publication: 12 September, 2018

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An E. Coli outbreak led to the deaths of a British couple on holiday in Egypt, the coroner in the investigation into their deaths has ruled.

A British couple who passed away on holiday in Egypt last month died from the effects of an E. coli infection, an Egyptian coroner concluded on Wednesday.

John Cooper, 69, died on 21 August "because of severe intestinal catarrh that resulted from E. coli bacteria", a report released by the Egyptian attorney general stated.

The death of Cooper's wife, Susan - who also fell ill in their room at an upmarket hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada - "was caused by a start of hemolytic-uremic syndrome that probably resulted from E. coli", it added.

It has previously been feared that strong pesticides being used at the resort were to blame for the couple's death.

High levels of E. coli were found during tests at the Egyptian hotel where a British couple died, travel operator Thomas Cook said on Wednesday.

John and Susan Cooper died at the five-star Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada on 21 August after falling ill suddenly during an all-inclusive stay at the Red Sea resort. 

Independent experts carried out a series of tests, with those on food and hygiene standards detecting "a high level of E. coli and staphylococcus bacteria".

Thomas Cook moved all its other customers from the hotel after the couple died in what their daughter called "suspicious" circumstances.

The company said it was unclear what caused the deaths of the couple in their 60s, while Egyptian authorities initially pointed to natural causes and said there were no signs of violence. 

Egypt's key tourism industry has been recovering from a devastating blow in 2015 when terrorists bombed a Russian airliner carrying holidaymakers from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 on board.

Last week, Janice Bowles, 58, from Bristol, died while on holiday in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, after she was flipped from a banana boat and trapped underneath.

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