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Steigenberger Aqua Magic / Thomas Cook

“High level” of dangerous bacteria at Cook hotel

E-coli and staphylococcus are found at the Hurghada hotel where a couple died, but there is no definitive cause of death.

Tests being made at the resort in Hurghada, Egypt where two Thomas Cook clients died have failed to find a definitive cause, despite the presence of a “high level” of e-coli and bacteria, TTG reports.

Independent experts tested food, water and air samples from the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel, where travel agent Susan Cooper and her husband John died over two weeks ago.

The examination included the pools, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide levels, the air conditioning units, and a “thorough audit of food storage, preparation, presentation and equipment”.

Yet the specialists have been unable to access the Cooper’s hotel room, which has remained under the control of the Egyptian authorities due to their own ongoing investigation.

The investigation’s preliminary findings were shared with the Cooper family, the Egyptian authorities and the Deutsche Hospitality group, which owns the Steigenberger franchise.

The examination of air and water quality came back clear and there was no evidence of high carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide levels. The pools showed normal levels of chlorine.

But although there was no presence of shigella, listeria or salmonella, food and hygiene standards identified “a high level of e-coli and staphylococcus bacteria”. All test were verified by University College Hospitals in London.

“Something went wrong”
“It is clear from these results something went wrong in August at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada and that standards fell below what we expect from our hotel partners,” the operator said in a statement.

“This is also supported by a review we have conducted of our customer satisfaction scores [at the hotel], which fell sharply during this month.

“It is likely the presence of E. coli and staphylococcus would explain the raised level of illness reported among guests at the hotel during this time, supporting Thomas Cook’s decision to remove our 300 customers.

“However, neither our independent specialists nor [test team leader] Dr Vanya Gant believe that these results shed any light on the still unexplained cause of death of Mr and Mrs Cooper.”

The company added: “We await the results of the autopsies being conducted by the Egyptian authorities.”

Thomas Cook’s chief executive, Peter Fankhauser, said: “I am very sorry for all our customers who fell ill while on a Thomas Cook holiday at this hotel.”

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