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Holiday Illness Complaint

Report of Salmonella and gastric illness at the Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic

22nd September 2017

We recently took on a case involving a group of clients who say that they suffered a bacterial infection that resulted in a severe gastric illness during their stay at the Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana, also known as the Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa.

At least one case of Salmonella has been confirmed so far, and we've been advised that a number of other guests have suffered food poisoning symptoms.

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The Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa in Uvero Alto

Situated in the popular Uvero Alto region of the Dominican Republic, the Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa is currently advertised by TUI UK Limited-owned First Choice as the Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana on an all-inclusive basis to British holidaymakers. Although the resort has a lot to offer perspective guests, recent reports have highlighted potential failings of hygiene processes at the Dominican Republic hotel.

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Clients suffer severe gastric illness at the Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana

Our clients say that they suffered from a severe gastric illness only a few days into their stay at the Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana, having only eaten at the all-inclusive hotel. They advised us that they suffered symptoms that included diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting, headaches, nausea, lethargy, and flu-like symptoms including a fever and cold shivers.

They advised us that during their stay they witnessed concerning hygiene practices, including food handlers not wearing gloves while serving food. Although it is possible to serve food safely without wearing gloves, they do provide an additional layer of protection and are considered commonplace in catering environments. Our clients also said that food that should have been served hot was cold, further increasing the risk that harmful bacteria will be allowed to propagate.

Our clients found that hygiene conditions around the pool were also questionable, commenting that they saw the plastic cups that were being made available to guests that had been cleaned out with tap water. In the Dominican Republic, tap water is not considered safe to drink, making this quite concerning given public health information that is provided to travellers to there. Our clients also say that they never witnessed the hotel checking the cleanliness of the pool by performing chemical tests.

Of the holidaymakers who have been in contact with us, the mother of one has advised that their son has tested positive for Salmonella, although others have and are still receiving treatment.

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The importance of receiving a diagnosis

If you suffer the symptoms such as those our clients have experienced while you're on holiday, it's vital that you receive a formal diagnosis from a medical practitioner and the appropriate treatment.

In addition to ensuring that you receive the most effective treatment, a formal diagnosis may prevent you from suffering any further health complications that could stem from your initial illness. It'll also provide you with a medical record of the pathogen that caused your condition, something which could prove to be invaluable.

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Taking antibiotics on holiday

Through contact with holidaymakers affected by illness abroad, we are finding that it is commonplace for doctors in the Caribbean to offer antibiotics without performing a stool sample test. It is usually considered best practice in the UK to identify the germ from a stool sample before prescribing antibiotics. This is because different antibiotics treat different symptoms.

Antibiotics on holiday

Keep in mind that there is nothing to stop you from phoning your GP or speaking to NHS Choices if you are suffering from the symptoms of food poisoning, as well as to seek additional advice on taking medication prescribed by a foreign medical practitioner.

Antibiotics such as Ciprofloxcin and Chloramphenicol taken in combination are known to wipe out the majority of bacteria in your digestive system in one fell swoop, making a concrete diagnosis difficult if you submit a stool sample when returning to the UK. You might find that you'll be prescribed with these types of antibiotics after a diagnosis anyway, but if you receive a diagnosis first, you'll know what pathogen cause your condition, which helps if you want to pursue a compensation claim upon your return to the UK.

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What is Salmonellosis?

Salmonellosis is a type of food poisoning caused by the Salmonella strain of bacteria. Symptoms can include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and a fever, taking around 12 hours to 3 days to manifest after the time of infection. Salmonellosis can be easily treatable, however, you are at risk of dehydration during the acute phase of illness, making it imperative that you see a medical practitioner to receive a diagnosis and treatment.

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You could be entitled to 'no win no fee' compensation

If you've suffered symptoms akin to Salmonellosis having been on an all-inclusive package holiday to the Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana, we would like to hear from you. You might be entitled to claim compensation from your tour operator under The Package Travel Regulations 1992.

We can provide you with a free no-obligation consultation with a member of our travel law team who will be able to advise you of your right to compensation. If we're able to represent you, we can do so on a 'no win no fee' basis.

Paul Stevens - Group Travel Litigation Claims Manager

Contact us about your holiday illness claim

To find out more about claiming compensation for illness at the Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic; 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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