Research – EU and UK record travel-related Shigella infections

Food Safety News

A multi-country Shigella outbreak in Europe has been linked to stays at some hotels in Cape Verde.

Confirmed Shigella sonnei cases have been reported in the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Germany, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said there is no information about the source of infection but given the increase in travel during the coming holiday season, new cases are likely.

However, Holiday Claims Bureau and Hudgell Solicitors in the UK have noted complaints of illness and poor hygiene standards from holidaymakers, suggesting the source could be contaminated food or water. Holiday Claims Bureau said it had been informed of sick people testing positive for Shigella.

Travelers have described symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and pains, which in some cases lasted until they returned home.

Anne ThomsonHudgell Solicitors’ travel litigation executive, said people can suffer as a result of a change in diet and climate.

“However, when we are alerted to situations where a number of holiday guests are affected by similar symptoms, particularly when they are not part of the same traveling group, we feel an investigation is needed to contain any wider outbreak and prevent future problems,” she said.

“Holidaymakers becoming ill having only ever eaten at the specific hotel they are staying at, and concerns raised by guests over standards of hygiene and cleanliness throughout premises, and not just in dining areas, are often red flags to potential underlying problems.”

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