PUBLIC Health England has issued advice to residents in East Lancashire travelling to Egypt after several people returned with a serious illness caused by E. coli infection.

All travellers had been to the Hurghada region of Egypt.

Scientists from PHE are gathering further information to understand the cause of the infections.

E. coli can cause an unpleasant diarrhoeal illness with stomach cramps and occasionally fever.

Most people will recover without the need for medical treatment, but the young and old can develop complications of the infection, leading to kidney failure.

This rare condition is called haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), which in very rare circumstances can be fatal.

E. coli is caught through ingesting contaminated food or water.

Dr Nick Phin, deputy director for the national infection service at PHE, said: "There are simple precautions that travellers can take. These include ensuring meat is cooked thoroughly, not drinking tap water or ice made from tap water and trying to avoid swallowing water when swimming.

"Anyone suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting should ensure they keep well hydrated and seek medical advice if their symptoms don’t improve within 48 hours. "