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Holiday Illness Complaint

What should I do if I contract Cyclospora in Mexico this summer?

11th July 2017

Last year we were instructed by over 250 holidaymakers who contracted Cyclospora or infections with similar symptoms while staying at an all-inclusive hotel in Mexico. Cyclospora can be a devastating disease, and if you get sick it's not always obvious what you should do, but these tips may help if you get sick on holiday.

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What is Cyclospora?

Cyclospora is caused by ingesting a parasite that attaches itself to fruits and vegetables that have been contaminated by human faecal matter. This usually occurs when fruits and vegetable are washed or irrigated with contaminated water.

It predominantly affects raw fruit and vegetables, as well as the fresh herbs that are used in cocktails, such as the mint used in mojitos. Once the produce in question has been infected, conventional food preparation methods often won't remove the parasite before it's consumed.

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What are the symptoms of Cyclospora?

Like most gastric illnesses, Cyclospora shares similar symptoms with a lot of other food poisoning diseases, with profuse diarrhoea being the most common symptom. Other symptoms can include nausea, stomach cramps and abdominal pain, bloating and increased gas, lethargy, and weight loss caused by diarrhoea and a loss of appetite.

Depending on your health and, you might also experience vomiting, body and headaches, a fever and other symptoms that you would associate with the flu.

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What should I do?

Usually, you won't know for sure that you have contracted Cyclospora unless you are tested for it by submitting a stool sample to your GP in the UK. As with any gastric illness suffered on holiday, as soon as you become unwell it's important that you report your illness to a member of staff at your hotel, as well as making your tour operator aware of the problem.

It's advisable to receive help from a medical professional as soon as possible, as your condition could worsen. There is nothing to stop you phoning your own GP while still in Mexico, and if you do receive medical attention while in Mexico make sure you contact your travel insurance company.

Antibiotics and Cyclospora on holiday

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When seeing a medical professional, we recommend that you request a stool sample test be carried out. This will help to confirm which pathogen you have suffered from so that you can receive the most effective treatment.

Cyclospora can easily be treated with antibiotics although it is our experience that the right antibiotics are only provided to our clients' upon their return to the UK. If you're prescribed antibiotics that aren't designed to kill Cyclospora while still in Mexico, they are unlikely to aid in your recovery.

If you are suffering a sickness bug in the Riviera Maya, it's advisable to contact your GP to make sure that what you are being prescribed is right for you. However, if you are seriously unwell, it is imperative that you receive medical attention, meaning that you may need to trust the advice that you're being given abroad.

It's also advisable to share your experience on review websites such as TripAdvisor. Doing so shows tour operators that there's a problem that they need to address, and it also helps to warn other holidaymakers before they arrive at a resort in the middle of a potential outbreak.

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Where can you catch Cyclospora in Mexico?

Unfortunately, we can't precisely predict where a holiday illness outbreak will occur, but we can share what we know about locations where holidaymakers have previously reported that they suffered from this debilitating parasitic infection, notably, the locations of all-inclusive hotels in Mexico.

Last year, we were contacted by holidaymakers who have told us that they contracted Cyclospora at the following hotels:

  • Catalonia Riviera Maya Resort & Spa
  • Grand Bahia Principe Coba
  • Grand Riviera Princess
  • Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort and Spa
  • Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun
  • Ocean Maya Royale by H10
  • Riu Caribe
  • Riu Palace Peninsula
  • Royalton Riviera Cancun
  • TUI SENSATORI Resort Azul Mexico
  • El Dorado Seaside Suites & Spa
  • Sensimar Seaside Suites & Spa

Recently, the Mirror reported that a British family's dream trip to the Riu Caribe was ruined by illness after they reported contracting the Cyclospora parasite, and they were confined to their room for much of their holiday in Mexico.

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Are the British government aware of the issue?

Last August, the British government issued a warning that Public Health England was continuing to monitor the growing number of British tourists who were reporting that they were affected by Cyclospora while on holiday Mexico.

At the time of writing, the article stated that 320 cases had been reported since the beginning of June, but it's arguable that there were further reports after this article was published, and it's possible that we may see a repeat of a large number of British tourists suffering from this debilitating parasite in summer 2017.

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Can I claim compensation for holiday illness?

If your holiday has been ruined by sickness, you might feel that your money has been wasted on what may have been an expensive all-inclusive package holiday. If you or any other guests get sick abroad or are diagnosed with a food poisoning pathogen, then under The Package Travel Regulations 1992, you might be entitled to claim compensation from your tour operator.

It only takes a few minutes to find out if you're eligible to make a 'no win no fee' holiday illness compensation claim. Just contact our travel law team and we'll provide you with an assessment of your case and advise you of the best method to pursue your claim.

Paul Stevens - Group Travel Litigation Claims Manager

Contact us about your holiday illness claim

To find out more about claiming compensation for Cyclospora in Mexico; speak to Paul Stevens by calling us on 0808 145 1353 or complete our enquiry form and we will call you back.

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