Page last updated at 12:09 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 13:09 UK

Tourist dies of 'food poisoning'

Grand Hotel, Gardone Riviera [Pic: Keith Mellalieu]
Health officials are inspecting the kitchens at the Grand Hotel

A British tourist has died of suspected food poisoning at a luxury hotel at Lake Garda, northern Italy.

Geoffrey Appleyard, 71, from Evesham in Worcs, died early on Sunday after falling ill after dinner hours earlier.

Police have yet to establish a link between the poisoning and his death. A post-mortem examination was being held.

Twenty Britons at the Grand Hotel at Gardone Riviera fell ill and health officials inspecting its kitchens believe salmonella is a likely cause.

Holiday company Thomson said nine of those affected were still recovering in hospitals and would be discharged in the next few days.

They have been suffering severe vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration, although the British consul in Milan says they are not thought to be in any further danger.

Those taken ill were part of a tour group of 300 people visiting the hotel.

'Isolated case'

Mr Appleyard was treated by paramedics in his hotel room after falling ill, but died shortly afterwards.

Health officials investigating the outbreak said they suspected the fish the guests had been served, but are still analysing samples taken from the hotel kitchen.

Map of Italy

The kitchen was closed by the health authorities pending further investigations.

A Thomson spokesman said: "The Italian health authorities are investigating and the hotel management is co-operating fully.

"This is an isolated case, no new cases were reported since Monday and we are confident that the situation is under control.

He added: "Our staff and staff from the British consulate will be visiting those in hospital.

"Our reps will be in the hotel and will be pleased to discuss any queries or concerns any of our guests have."

Legal action

Several of the affected holidaymakers have instructed British law firm Irwin Mitchell.

The firm's head of travel law, Clive Garner, said legal action was "highly likely to follow".

"From what we know so far it looks like there has been a major breakdown in health and hygiene measures leading to a large scale outbreak of illness," he said.

"Questions will have to be answered by the hotel management and the tour operators using the hotel, including Thomson, as to how this has been allowed to happen."

Allister Stewart, 62, and his wife Elizabeth, 61, from Marlborough, Wiltshire, were among those taken to hospital.

Mr Stewart said through the law firm: "Both my wife and I have been extremely ill and we are awaiting the results of further tests.

"We are very concerned that we could be suffering from salmonella and we have now been told that the hotel has had to close their kitchen."

The four-star hotel was once a favourite destination for Winston Churchill who would often sit and paint the lake.

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Milton Keynes Citizen British holidaymaker dies after suspected salmonella outbreak - 13 hrs ago
Telegraph Fifteen tourists at Lake Garda in hospital after pensioner dies - 15 hrs ago
Rye and Battle Observer British holidaymaker dies after suspected salmonella outbreak - 16 hrs ago
Channel 4 News British tourist dies of 'food poisoning' - 18 hrs ago
Daily Mail Holiday Briton dies after 'salmonella outbreak' strikes Lake Garda hotel - 18 hrs ago

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