Nearly 150 Brits struck down with crippling food poisoning bug in Mexican mass sickness outbreak as Foreign Office changes travel advice for holidaymakers
The devastating Cyclospora virus has been recorded at 24 luxury hotel complexes most of which are located near Cancun
A STAGGERING 148 Brit tourists have been struck down with a crippling food poisoning bug Cyclospora in a mass Holiday Sickness outbreak.
The outbreak now involves 24 luxury hotel complexes most of which are in the Riviera Maya resort near Cancun in Mexico.
Public Health England warned UK tourists to be wary of travelling to Mexico and the Foreign Office have updated their website to include a warning from health authorities about travelling to the region.
PHE say the illness – which started spreading in June – is likely linked to tainted food supplied to hotels throughout the resort area which has now affected victims as young as 12-year-old.
The same area suffered a similar outbreak last year where 76 Brits were also taken ill by the same bug.
Guests are believed to have eaten contaminated food in their hotels and later fell ill with severe stomach cramps and diarrhoea.
A number of different hotels are believed to be affected by the outbreak including Thomson run four star Catalonia Riviera Maya Resort & Spa, Sensatori Resort Mexico and Hotel Royalton Riviera Cancun.
Kirsty Prax, Head of Holiday Sickness Claims at Claims Legal – who are receiving an increase in enquiries after being on TV, said: “This time of the year is exceptionally high with holiday sickness claims enquiries as it is only recent people are becoming aware that they can make a claim.People are coming to us every hour complaining of holiday sickness.
“Many have been ill for over a week and don’t seek medical attention abroad because of the cost and being in a foreign country. They sufferwith serious symptoms such as vomiting, severe diarrhoea and stomach cramps and lose a massive part of the holiday they have typically saved up for and looked forward to for the best part of a year, only to have it ruined by someone else’s fault.
“Tour operators need to do more to ensure the safety of their customers when holidaying abroad and put procedures in place for those who do sick to get the matter recorded properly and free medical support.”
Victims who have returned to the UK from the resort in Mexico have since been diagnosed with Cyclospora – a bug commonly associated with food poisoning and poor hygiene.
The sickness bug is spread by infected human faeces contaminating water or food and previous outbreaks have been connected to fresh fruit such as raspberries and salad products such as basil and lettuce.
Last week Sandra Harper and her husband reported to have lost a stone each in weight after they became infected with the bug while holidaying in Mexico.
Health Protection Scotland have issued advice with a warning statement posted on their website: “Cases of infection with the diarrhoea causing parasite Cyclospora have continued to be reported by UK holidaymakers returning from Mexico.
“The majority of cases have stayed in all-inclusive resorts in the Riviera Maya area.
“On return from Mexico, if you have any symptoms such as watery diarrhoea, loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, and other flu-like symptoms you should seek medical attention and tell your GP about your travel history.”
The Sun spoke with British couple Sandra and Lee Harper who suffered the dramatic weight loss after contracting the crippling sickness bug while on a £3,700 luxury holiday.
Sandra said she contacted holiday company Thomson about their illness via their 24-hour online help desk but only got a reply after they arrived back home.
Sandra said: “We have been all over the world and go on holiday a few times a year. But this was the worst holiday ever.
“People need to be aware what is going on out there. There is a real risk of people getting ill. If they just let people know about it, they could better protect themselves.
“I don’t want anybody to go through what we did. It’s the worst I have ever felt. I have never complained in my life on holiday but this was awful.
“I can’t believe the only time I heard from Thomson was after I got home and they said they hoped I would be going on holiday with them again. That is not going to happen. We had planned to see all the sights but just ended up seeing the inside of a bathroom.”
A spokesperson for Thomson said: “Public Health England has advised us of a number of sickness cases associated to an issue called Cyclospora in the Riviera Maya region of Mexico. There is not a particular hotel, hotel chain or tour operator implicated and the source of the issue is still being investigated.
“We are working with relevant partners and authorities both in Mexico and the UK to ensure customer wellbeing and to investigate the matter. “
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