Advice on E. coli for people travelling to Egypt

23 July 2019

Article: 53/2905

Public Health England (PHE) has reported 18 cases of Escherichia coli (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.

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 over 70 degrees centigrade

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

Further advice relating to travellers’ diarrhoea can be found on the TRAVAX (for health professionals) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.

Source: TRAVAX and fitfortravel (both 18 July 2019)