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Tests show E coli killed British tourist couple in Egypt

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The deaths of a British couple who were staying at a hotel in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Hurghada were caused by E coli bacteria, according to test results released by Egypt’s chief prosecutor on Wednesday.

John Cooper, 69, had acute intestinal dysentery caused by E coli, and 63-year-old Susan Cooper had haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), probably because of E coli, said the Egyptian general prosecutor Nabil Sadek.

He said the couple’s bodies showed “no criminal violence”; other tests on air and water at the hotel found nothing unusual. Thomas Cook evacuated 300 guests from the hotel as a precaution.

Their daughter, Kelly Ormerod, who was with them the night before they died, has said they used perfume to mask a strange odour in the room.

The forensic report denied there had been any leakage of harmful gases into the room. However, it detailed how the “unknown smell” noticed by Ormerod was “due to a leak of insecticide used in the next room”.

The report added that the insecticide, lambda-cyhalothrin, a chemical commonly used to control pests in home gardening or in agriculture to prevent insects eating crops, was safe to use, and denied that it had anything to do with the deaths.

The report added that the postmortems showed John Cooper died from a cardiac arrest after blockages to an estimated 80% of the veins in his heart. He also tested positive for the E coli bacteria, which caused the vomiting and diarrhoea he experienced shortly before his death. The report adds that he had consumed alcohol and hash, a kind of marijuana. There is no indication in the report that either contributed to his death.

Read also: Hundreds of tourists evacuated from Egypt hotel after two deaths

Susan Cooper is detailed in the report as suffering from Hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition that affects blood vessels and blood, and often occurs after people are infected with E coli. The report mentions that it was suggested that she contracted E coli “as she was staying with her husband and had eaten the same food”.

The report also states that at 11.30am on the day they died, the Coopers’ daughter called doctors in the hotel to examine her parents. John Cooper was experiencing diarrhoea and vomiting and the “doctors gave him medicine they thought was appropriate, this being Ringer’s solution (rehydration salts) and a dexamethasone injection, a corticosteroid”. His condition worsened and he died in his room.

Ormerod said she had “no faith” in the Egyptian authorities’ claims, saying she wanted more transparency and would wait for the results of tests done by the UK Home Office before coming to any conclusions about how her parents died.

“Thomas Cook put a report out that there were high levels of E coli at the hotel. Whether the Egyptians have honed in on that, I have no idea.”

She expressed doubt that anyone could die so shortly after exposure to the bacteria, accusing the Egyptian authorities of seeking a quick answer in order to protect the nation’s tourism industry.

“I don’t know what tests they have done. The report I have seen, from the media, not sent to me, was very, very brief … Exactly what have they tested for?”

Metro

$5m forfeited to govt in seized plane scandal that rocked Zambia

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The Zambian government has been made $5 million richer following a court ruling that ordered the forfeiture of the sum seized in a gold scam scandal that rocked the nation last year.

The same ruling also mandated the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to release the plane involved in the scandal to its owners after the Director of Public Prosecutions, Gilbert Phiri, and other interested parties in the criminal case entered into a consent judgment.

The Global Express T77WSS Jet, was confiscated at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Lusaka last year on suspicion of ferrying gold from the country worth millions of dollars after landing from Cairo, Egypt.

In the consent judgement signed on April 10, the owner of the disputed jet, World Aviation Sinai International Mountains Limited, through one of its Directors, Michael Adel Michel Botros, an Egyptian, agreed to surrender the $5 million to the Zambian government in exchange for the plane.

The DPP, Gilbert Phiri, on the other hand, consented to the immediate release of the the aircraft to its owners

The jet was reportedly hired by a management company known as Ibis Air PTY Limited.

The parties further agreed on the other properties seized comprising of 602 pieces of brass pellets, a combination of Copper and Zinc metals, weighing 127.28 kilograms purported to have been valued at about $7,636,800 from Zambia to Egypt.

The consent judgement read:

“That DEC shall release the aircraft, namely, Global Express T77WSS Jet, to the first and second interested parties forthwith:

“That the third interested party Michael Adel Michel Botros shall surrender the sum of $5,000,000.00 only to the government of the Republic of Zambia.

“That the sum of $697,700.00 be released to the third interested party Michael Adel Michel Botros through his advocates to cover some of the attendant costs of facilitating and servicing the aircraft, namely, Global Express T77WSS Jet in order for it to achieve optimal airworthiness.

“All other items seized by DEC be surrendered to the State: and we consent to the order in the terms herein set out.”

In an affidavit in opposition to the DPP’s application filed last year, Ibis Air (PTY) Limited director, Baher Fawzi Mohamed Aldamasy, an Egyptian and a resident in South Africa had stated that the State’s procedure of seizure was irregular as the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Act describes the Jet as premises and not property.

Aldamasy had argued that the owner or Ibis was under no obligation to inquire into the work history or activities of the client beyond that which is necessary to determine the rates, safety of the jet and operation as per the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

He stated that the jet was hired to be used for three hours with the flight plan indicated Cairo to Lusaka and then Lusaka to Cairo.

Botros had also argued that he was a victim of a gold scam which also involved government officials but the DPP wanted an order to have the jet used in the gold scam scandal forfeited to the State.

Five Zambians, business man Sedrick Kasanda, Patrick Kawanu Jnr(Pilot), Jim Belemu(Mahogany Air Chief Executive Officer), Robson Moonga, and Francis Mateyo, are currently undergoing trial in the Lusaka High Court on charge of espionage.

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Tanzania, Rwanda others recall Johnson & Johnson children’s cough syrup

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As a safety step, drug regulators in Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe have called back a batch of Johnson & Johnson children’s cough syrup after their counterparts in Nigeria said that lab tests showed high levels of toxicity.

These countries are the fourth and fifth to recall the same batch of syrup. The syrup is used to treat children with coughs, hay fever, and other allergic responses. South Africa has also called back another group.

Nigeria’s health regulator, NAFDAC found a high amount of diethylene glycol in the syrup. This chemical has been linked to the deaths of dozens of children in Gambia, Uzbekistan, and Cameroon since 2022, in one of the worst waves of poisoning from oral medications in the world. Diethylene glycol is dangerous for people to eat or drink and can cause sudden kidney failure.

J&J made the recalled batch of Benylin Paediatric syrup in South Africa in May 2021. However, the brand is now owned by Kenvue (KVUE.N), which split off from J&J last year. The Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) said the recall began on April 12 after learning about the test results in Nigeria.

“This is an exercise that does not involve investigation but rather monitoring to ensure that those affected drugs are removed from the market,” TMDA spokesperson Gaudensia Simwanza told Reuters on Monday.

A spokesperson for Kenya’s drug regulator said its test results on the syrup would likely be ready on Wednesday. “A review of our safety database doesn’t reveal any adverse events reported,” the Rwanda Food and Drugs Authority said in a statement dated April 12. “However, Rwanda FDA issues the present recall for precautionary measures.”

The Medicines Control Agency of Zimbabwe said it didn’t know when the product was brought into the country, but it was worried that the syrup could get into the market without permission. In this case, it said it would do more checks.

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