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E. coli in Egypt (Hurghada)

18 Jul 2019

Public Health Englandreports that there have been 18 cases of E. coli in travellers returning from the Hurghada area of Egypt in 2019. One of the affected people developed a serious condition called Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS) which can lead to kidney failure.

E. coli infection may be accompanied by: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, headache and fever. The illness is usually self limiting over 3–5 days but more serious infections can take up to 10 days. Individuals with symptoms after returning from holiday should seek medical advice.

Advice for Travellers

Prevention of E. coli and other forms of travellers' diarrhoea depends mainly upon practising good hand hygiene and effective food and water precautions.

  • Hands should be washed thoroughly before eating or handling food, and always after using the toilet.

    • Sanitising alcohol hand gel is an alternative when washing facilities are not available.

    • E. coli is destroyed if food is cooked thoroughly to internal temperatures of > 70oC.

Diarrhoea may occur even in travellers who stick strictly to food and water precautions; in many destinations the risk is determined by local food hygiene and sanitation practices.

For more information see Travellers' Diarrhoea.