Trip ruined by infection

SP91249 Catherine Jackson with son Alfie (3) who was infected with crytosporidium on holiday and big brother Riley (5).
SP91249 Catherine Jackson with son Alfie (3) who was infected with crytosporidium on holiday and big brother Riley (5).

A FAMILY whose toddler son fell seriously ill on their first holiday together have joined hundreds of tourists in a legal battle.

When the Jacksons visited the Holiday Village Turkey resort they dreamed of a perfect trip – as recommended by tour operator First Choice – to celebrate son Alfie’s recovery from kidney surgery.

But, one-by-one, they were struck down by a mystery bug that even after the trip left little Alfie, then aged 18 months, battling severe stomach complaints.

Medical tests back home showed it was cryptosporidium – an infection often caused by swimming in contaminated water and associated with foreign travel.

Now they have joined more than 500 people, all who claim to have picked up illnesses at the Sarigerme resort, in court proceedings against First Choice.

“When we got back home Alfie was really tired, lost a lot of weight and had bad diarrhoea,” said pregnant mum-of-two Catherine Jackson, of Inkersall.

“The doctor said the infection was caused by human or animal faeces and people usually picked it up from water. It took a good couple of months for Alfie to fully recover.”

Catherine and engineer husband Adam, who were “extra careful” with food and water on their trip after seeing the resort on TV consumer show Watchdog and seeking reassurances from First Choice, say the experience has put them off going away again.

“We wanted to treat everyone with the holiday,” added Catherine, 32. I just want First Choice to admit there is a problem at the resort, they are sorry and not let it happen to other families with little kids.

“When we first saw it on Watchdog there were a few complaints at that stage but it seems to have just snowballed.” Solicitors Irwin Mitchell started court proceedings last month against First Choice. They represent 584 British tourists who allege to have contracted illnesses including salmonella, cryptosporidium, E.Coli and campylobacter at the Holiday Village Turkey resort in 2009. A spokesman for First Choice and TUI UK said it closely audits its resorts to ensure health, hygiene and comfort is maintained.

The Health Protection Agency has confirmed there have been no reports of infection in 2010 or this year at the resort. She added: “The Holiday Village Turkey continues to be extremely popular with guests and we would like to bring to light that 90 per cent of guests rated the accommodation as good or excellent in 2010.

“We’re confident customers due to travel to the resort will enjoy the excellent levels of quality and standards they would expect from a First Choice property.”

jon.cooper@derbyshiretimes.co.uk

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