HEALTH officials are warning Welsh tourists about travelling to the Egyptian resort of Hurghada after an outbreak of E. coli in the same resort where a couple died.

Welsh tourists have been struck down with E. coli infections after visiting the coastal resort and there are fears this number will rise.

Up to 25 people have been affected across the UK so far with the youngest victim a baby less than one year old and the oldest 67.

Advice suggests the bug is likely spread by contaminated water or food and are urging Brits to avoid salads, unpasteurised ice cream, cheese and ice cubes in their drinks which may be made from contaminated water.

Due to a varied incubation period those infected may not yet be showing symptoms.

Dr Robert Smith, clinical scientist (Lead GI Infections ), health protection -communicable disease surveillance centre - Public Health Wales, said:

“Public Health Wales is issuing advice to people travelling to the Hurghada region of Egypt after a number of people in Wales and England, including children, have returned with a serious illness caused by E. coli infection.

"Humans can become exposed via direct exposure to the animal or its faeces, though contaminated water supplies or foods derived from ruminants such as raw or undercooked meat, or milk or from direct contact with a contaminated person.

“E. coli is a serious bacterial infection that causes an unpleasant diarrhoeal illness with stomach cramps and sometimes fever. Symptoms of E. coli range from mild diarrhoea, stomach cramps and fever, to bloody diarrhoea.

"Most people will recover without complications but the most severe cases can develop kidney failure. This uncommon condition is called haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) and in very rare circumstances can be fatal. Only a very small number of bacterial cells (in some cases only 10 – 100 cells) need to be ingested to cause serious illness."

Dr Smith said the groups most at risk of infection include the young and the elderly.

He added: "The duration of illness can vary but the impact of infection can be variable, but it is particularly dangerous for vulnerable groups, especially children under five years of age and the elderly."

And Mr Smith had this advice for anyone feeling sick who has visited Egypt and the resort.

He added: "Anyone experiencing these symptoms should contact their GP or NHS Direct Wales for advice."

Nick Harris, head of travel at Simpson Millar Solicitors, said the resort was a 'hotspot for illness' and he wasn't surprised by the ongoing outbreak.

He added: "This is very concerning and Welsh tourists are quite rightly worried. If you visit this resort you could be putting your life in someone else's hands."