A father-of-two "feared the worst" after being taken to hospital with stomach flu during a family holiday to Egypt.

Ciaran O'Donnell, from Fareham, needed two blood tests and four different IV drips after being struck down with stomach pains, diarrhoea and lethargy. 

After three days in hospital, the 48-year-old was discharged on August 2, having been diagnosed with gastroenteritis - an inflammation of the stomach and intestines, typically resulting from bacterial toxins or viral infection.

He said: “It’s safe to say my illness completely ruined the holiday for all of us. We’d saved up to take the kids away somewhere special and had really been looking forward to it.

“On the third day, I felt really ill and didn’t think it was possible to get any worse, but by the time I arrived at hospital, somehow it did.

Daily Echo: Ciaran O’Donnell with his family on holidayCiaran O’Donnell with his family on holiday (Image: Irwin Mitchell)

"The doctors were great but repeated blood tests and being hooked up to several drips really does make you fear the worst and it was a traumatic experience for all of us.

“The holiday was ruined and even on returning to the hotel, I was in no fit state to take part in anything."

The family booked the seven-day getaway to Pharaoh Azur Resort with Holiday Gems Limited and have now instructed serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the illness. 

READ MORE: Southampton hospital nurse fighting for her life due to sepsis

Ciaran added: "The swimming pool was a risk I didn’t take, particularly after it had been closed due to another guest ‘contaminating’ the pool, whatever that might mean.

"The maintenance team were seen replacing damaged swimming pool tiles with strong smelling chemical adhesives while the swimming pool was full of water and in use by families.

“I was so ill that I also had to cancel the trip to the water park that we had really been looking forward to.

"It was hard to let them down and see their disappointment but I was so ill, going was really out of the question.

"My wife reluctantly agreed to take the kids to the water park on her own which proved to be a daunting task for her in a foreign country where English is not the first language, particularly when pre-arranged transport to return them to the hotel did not turn up.

"I felt particularly bad as I was not there to help the situation in any way.

"We know of at least one other family who were ill and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more.

"We took the usual precautions, from not having ice to only drinking bottled water, but it wasn’t enough. I’m just glad it happened to me and not Victoria or the children."

Daily Echo: Ciaran O’DonnellCiaran O’Donnell (Image: Irwin Mitchell)

He said he still felt the effects having returned to the UK and wants answers on what happened to prevent others suffering the same ordeal. 

A spokesperson for the holiday firm told the Echo: "We were very sorry to hear that Mr Ciaran O’Donnell fell ill on holiday in Egypt in July.

"For our part, we are always concerned to learn of any illness experienced by our customers and wish Mr O’Donnell well.

"Mrs O’Donnell informed us at the time that Mr O’Donnell was hospitalised and declined assistance from us as their insurer was dealing with the situation.

"I may confirm there was and has been no prior or subsequent formal complaint from Mr or Mrs O’Donnell directed to the hotel via ourselves until recently which we have received via Irwin Mitchell.

"As would be expected under the circumstances, the matter will be comprehensively investigated.

"Being a responsible tour operator, we will as always monitor the outcome and we apologise at this time that we are unable to comment further."