Salmonella Holiday Super Bug On The Rise!


A strain of the foodborne bacteria, Salmonella, which causes diarrhoea and has established a resistance to antibiotics, has been found in the UK and other European Countries.

The outbreak emerged in North Africa in areas such as Morocco and Egypt and has spread to Europe, picking up antibiotic resistance along the way, suggested a team of scientists. They are now calling on local health protection agencies to step up monitoring to stop this "superbug" spreading globally.

salmonella holiday illness

The number of reported cases has risen from a handful in 2002 to over 500 worldwide in 2008, they claim in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Dr Simon Le Hello researcher at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, claims: "We hope that this publication might stir awareness among national and international health, food, and agricultural authorities so that they take the necessary measures to control and stop the dissemination of this strain before it spreads globally."

Simon Lomax, Simpson Millar’s Holiday Illness Claims Manager says:

“Fortunately, most incidences of salmonella poisoning amongst holiday makers are not serious, causing only mild diarrhoea – headaches - fever and stomach cramps. Occasionally, however, particularly in the young or elderly or in travellers with weakened immune systems, the infection can be a lot worse and in some cases even fatal."

“Holiday makers are advised to follow basic food safety rules whilst abroad to avoid food poisoning - only eat food that is piping hot and which is thoroughly cooked and served in a hygienic way."

The strain of salmonella, known as S. Kentucky, has developed resistance to the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin, a drug often used for treating severe Salmonella food poisoning cases. Researchers started monitoring the strain after noticing an increase in the number of cases in travellers returning from Egypt, Kenya and Morocco.

Researchers claim that S. Kentucky arose in chicken in Egypt in the 1990s, and then spread to farm animals in various parts of Egypt before crossing the Mediterranean. The first infections outside Africa appear to be in holiday makers, more recent cases seem to have been acquired in Europe, possibly through food poisoning.

The Health Protection Agency claims there had been 698 cases of S. Kentucky from 2000 to 2008, reported in England and Wales with some 244 resistant to ciprofloxacin.

Altogether, there are around 13,000 cases of Salmonella poisoning each year reported to the Health Protection Agency, although thousands must go unreported.

Simon Lomax, continues to says:

"The number of compensation claims being made by holiday makers returning from Egypt with salmonella food poisoning has been on the increase, although to date we have only seen 1 case of the ciprofloxacin resistant, S. Kentucky."

"Care should be taken with hand and food hygiene particularly when travelling to hotels in Egypt. Salmonella infections are treated with antibiotics, such as Steptoquin and Antinal by hotel doctors which often cause side effects to the unwary victim."

“Cooking food thoroughly will destroy any bacteria irrespective of whether the salmonella is resistant to antibiotics or not, and prevention is always better than cure."

He added: "If tour operators ensure that their hotel supplier’s adhere to the Federation of Tour Operators guidance, there would be no need for hotel doctors to supply antibiotics which are banned in many European countries. The FTO’s guidelines, which are intended to reduce the risk from pathogens, such as Salmonella, are equally applicable whether these pathogens are resistant to antimicrobials or not."

If you have been the victim of salmonella food poisoning whilst on a package holiday abroad, you may be able to claim compensation from your UK tour operator.

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