Two evacuated guests from the Egyptian hotel where a British couple died last week claim to have an infection known as shigella.
The mother and daughter were among the hundreds who left the complex in Hurghada after John and Susan Cooper died suddenly only a few hours apart.
The couple who fell ill are part of a family of four, all of whom became ill on Thomas Cook's vacation, said his lawyer Nick Harris.
Since the death of Cooper, 69, and his wife, 63, of Burnley, Lancashire, dozens of guests have claimed that they fell ill at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel.
The mother and daughter were among the hundreds who left the complex in Hurghada after John and Susan Cooper (pictured) died suddenly with only a few hours apart.
Shigella is a contagious cause of food poisoning that is said to kill hundreds of thousands a year around the world.
The samples showed that the mother and daughter had the bacterial infection, a health official told The Daily Telegraph.
This development follows the dismissals of the hotel manager from any increase in the incidence of illness among the guests.
Harris, of the Simpson Millar Law Firm, told the newspaper: "This is the first indication of a pathogen and completely changes the game.
& # 39; Shigella is a communicable disease. In my experience, it is often eaten, but it is also transmitted by water, so it can be obtained through contaminated water & # 39;
The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Cooper, Kelly Ormerod, has questioned how they could have fallen ill so quickly, saying there is "something suspicious about their deaths".
Thomas Cook commissioned his own air conditioning and food hygiene tests at Aqua Magic, he thought the organization did not have access to the Coopers room. On the photo: the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel
Other guests reported falling sick with vomiting and upset stomach during their stay at the hotel this month.
Thomas Cook commissioned his own air conditioning and food hygiene tests at Aqua Magic, he thought the organization did not have access to the Coopers room.
A spokesperson for the company insisted that the safety and welfare of its customers was its top priority, adding that Steigenberger Aqua Magic was audited for the last time in July.
What is shingella and is it contagious?
Shigella infection (shigellosis) is an intestinal disease caused by a family of bacteria known as shigella. The main sign of shigella infection is diarrhea, which is often bloody.
Shigella can be passed through direct contact with the bacteria in the stool.
Children younger than 5 years are more likely to get shigella infection, but it can happen at any age. A mild case usually goes away on its own within a week. When treatment is needed, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics.
Signs and symptoms of shigella infection usually begin one or two days after contact with shigella, but may take up to a week to develop. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Diarrhea (often contains blood or mucus)
- Abdominal pain or cramping
Although some people have no symptoms after being infected with shigella, their stools can be contagious for up to a few weeks.
Contact your doctor or seek urgent care if you or your child have bloody diarrhea or diarrhea serious enough to cause weight loss and dehydration. Also, contact your doctor if you or your child have diarrhea and a fever of 101 F (38 C) or higher.
Harris said there was "a competing set of interests" to identify what was behind the Coopers' deaths.
Thomas Cook admitted that a high level of illness was reported at the five-star hotel, but that he would want to protect his reputation, he said, while its German owners initially claimed that no one had fallen ill.
Local authorities would be very cautious about what could cause a health scandal in the tourism trade, he added.
The cause of death of Cooper, 69, and his wife, 63, has yet to be determined.
His daughter, Kelly Ormerod, said her parents had had "perfect health" before going to bed before they were found dying in their hotel room the next morning.
Egyptian authorities initially claimed that Mr. Cooper had died of a heart attack and that his wife collapsed in pain.
Their bodies will be repatriated next week, confirmed Egypt's tourism minister.
Rania Al-Mashat explained that forensic pathologists are carrying out "detailed autopsies" that would conclude next week.
There were no toxic gas emissions or leaks in the room, according to a statement from prosecutor Nabil Sadeq.
Thomas Cook's chief executive, Peter Frankhauser, has flown to Egypt to meet with the prime minister, Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, about the deaths.