John Stratton from Wisbech spent a lot of money to treat his wife and two young daughters to a 10-night luxury holiday to the Sharm-el-Sheikh Resort by the Red Sea. Their experience was not quite the posh R&R that they had been expecting. Things really took a turn for worse when he spotted a piece of human waste floating in the swimming pool of the Egyptian hotel.
It pretty much capped the unsanitary impression they had gotten thus far of the hotel from the undercooked food they had been served and the flies that had swarmed around the dining area. That encounter with excrement also pretty much served as an omen of bad luck, if it hadn’t been the actual culprit, because the Strattons soon fell sick.
Their condition quickly escalated to include horrible stomach cramps and flu-like symptoms. During his stay at the hotel, Stratton himself suffered from severe diarrhoea, vomiting, muscle aches, as well as breathing difficulties. While his wife and daughter also took ill while on their trip, he clearly had the most serious case and was hospitalised when they arrived back home. He was diagnosed to have been infected with Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal form of bacterial pneumonia and a serious lung disease. It is quite rare in the UK.
On top of the sickness, the bad experience, the wasted trip (their sickness immensely limited the family’s activities while on vacation), as well as the inconvenience and expense of hospitalisation, Stratton, who has his own farming business, was also not able to work as usual, which translated to a blow to his income. There really was no other option but to sue.
After Stratton moved to take legal action against the hotel, a number of similarly upset victims also heaped their own charges against it. They’re all calling for an investigation and encouraging those who can help with their enquiries to lend their assistance.
The resort refused to comment on the different cases, but claimed to have been awarded golden certificates for food hygiene and pool cleanliness. Nonetheless, what good are those certificates if there’s the actual evidence of their guests coming down with Legionnaires’ disease left and right?
In the hospitality business, you can’t afford to be found liable for causing guests to be infected with a really serious disease. To prevent this possibility, regularly use a legionella water testing kit. You can be vigilant about this by making testing part of your routine. A legionella water testing kit is an incredibly minor expense, but its impact on your operation is immense. At any rate, the Strattons’ experience should definitely be a cautionary tale for travellers and hotel owners alike.
Written by +Duncan Hollis, Aquacert