website  has reminded me of the now infamous E.coli outbreak in Germany and the smaller outbreak in France. These outbreaks are now thought to have been caused by contaminated fenugreek seeds (from either France, Egypt or the UK depending on the country you are reading the news in!)." />

E.coli Outbreak: Causes, Symptoms and Advice

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I was particularly affected by this news as my very elderly grandparents live in the north of Germany and they reported multiple deaths in their hometown. One sad case concerned a young boy of 5 who lost his life as a result of the complications associated with the new virulent strain of E.coli found in the German outbreak.
 
It also reminded me of the very real difficulty in proving cases of food poisoning and pinpointing the source of the infection. A common myth is that the dodgy stomach you fell ill with on holiday was caused by the last thing you ate - not an unreasonable assumption, but with varying incubation periods for various bacteria, microbes and viruses ranging from 6 hours to 14 days or more (!) it may not necessarily be caused by your holiday kebab...saying that, there are some countries in which food poisoning is more common than others.
 
E. coli bacteria is found primarily in beef, fruits, vegetables and dairy products. The bacteria lives in most warm-blooded animals, including humans, and spreads through fecal matter or contaminated water. E. coli symptoms can be moderate to severe and include diarrhoea, vomiting, excessive sweating, fever and in rare cases, bloody stool.

The best way to prevent e. coli poisoning is to use hot heat. Cook all beef products at an internal temperature of at least 160 F or 72-75 C. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that your meat is cooked all the way through. Never put cooked beef back onto a plate that held raw meat. Scrub all fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt or manure.
 
Generally speaking, if you want to make a claim against your hotel or your tour operator, medical evidence such as a blood or stool test is needed in order to prove what bacteria or virus was caught - so be sure to attend your GP or a doctor if your symptoms continue for more than a few days, especially if you have blood in your stool.
 
It would also be a good idea to take photographs of any defects or unsanitary conditions which may suggest a general lack of cleanliness. A diary of what you ate and when you ate it is also a must.
 
I will be talking about my top tips to avoid food poisoning next week.

Lauren Haas
Solicitor - Claims Abroad Team.



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