Couple's holiday ruined by sickness outbreak

A couple's dream break in Egypt turned into a nightmare when 'at least 90' holidaymakers fell violently ill.

Peter and Jacqueline Gilks, of Yeomans Ride in Hemel Hempstead, were hoping for a relaxing two weeks in the sun but ended up stuck in their room with vomiting and diarrhoea.

The couple were eight days into the all-inclusive holiday in March when they were struck down by the mystery illness at the Movenpick Hotel in Taba on the Red Sea.

"I was violently sick and had diarrhoea. I've never been that ill before. My husband will ill as well. We were really quite poorly," Mrs Gilks said.

"There was a queue to see the rep because so many people were ill.

"One boy said: 'I don't feel well' and the next thing he was violently ill in reception.

"We found out there were some people being put on drips because they were so dehydrated.

"It was quite horrendous. We couldn't believe the amount of people who were ill.

"We were told it was at least 90 people but now we've been told it has gone up to 100.

"It seems so strange that such a big group of us went down on the same day."

Mrs Gilks said they were careful with what they ate and drank and cannot work out what caused the illness.

"We didn't have ice in our drinks and we only drank bottled water. We felt we were really careful," she said.

"My husband was a lot worse than me. He had to have a week off work.

"You save all that money and go all that way to chill out and relax, but it didn't work out like that."

The Gilks' case and 30 others has now been taken up by law firm Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, which is seeking damages from tour operators First Choice Holidays.

Solicitor Samantha Owen said: "We are currently investigating whether basic health and hygiene measures, which safeguard against gastric illness of this nature, had been put in place to protect guests at this hotel."

In a statement the tour operator said: "First Choice is genuinely concerned to learn of any illness reported in our properties, and we would like to reassure all of our customers, that their health and safety is of paramount importance.

"First Choice closely audits all the hotels to which it operates to ensure that the health, safety, hygiene and comfort levels our customers expect are maintained.

"First Choice can confirm that the legal department are investigating claims received regarding the Movenpick and are therefore unable to comment further and will respond appropriately in due course.

"The Movenpick continues to be a very popular hotel amongst customers. We would like to assure customers due to travel to the Movenpick, Taba in the future that they will experience the high levels of quality and standards they expect from a First Choice property."