Holiday Village Turkey Illness Outbreak Goes to The High Court


Following a prolonged outbreak of illness in Turkey, over 100 holidaymakers have gone to the High Court in pursuit of substantial compensation from the tour operator First Choice Holidays.

The bacterial and parasitic infections occurred at the Holiday Village all-inclusive resort in Sarigerme, near Dalaman. The resort is one of a chain of Holiday Villages at various Mediterranian, Aegean and Red Sea locations run by First Choice Holidays.

Tropical Diseases Prior to arrival at the resort, the families were fit and healthy. However, within a short time they were suffering debilitating bouts of diarrhoea and stomach cramps and were being treated by intravenous drips and antibiotics.

The outbreak followed a series of similar incidents at this and other Holiday Village locations, with the Turkish site already the subject of a BBC Watchdog investigation.

Despite the number of people currently claiming and the weight of complaints already upheld over food poisoning and hygiene at Holiday Villages, First Choice has denied any wrongdoing.

The head of holiday and travel law at Simpson Millar LLP, the law firm acting for the victims, was saddened that the operator had chosen not to take responsibility.

Nick Harris said: "Of the people I am representing more than half are children, of whom some are still suffering symptoms stemming back to their time at the Holiday Village Turkey in Sarigerme.

"I'm also surprised, as we've negotiated settlements for holidaymakers who were similarly taken ill at the Turkey Holiday Village during 2010 and 2011."

Nick added that in many cases the families contracted Salmonella food poisoning and the parasitic infection Cryptosporidium. "This can be summed up by saying they ate food that was unfit for human consumption and came into contact with water contaminated by faeces."

Since Salmonella and Cryptosporidium infections are preventable, Nick believes the sheer volume of infected guests and the "staggering" record of illness are matters that only First Choice can deal with.

"Simple measures reduce food poisoning abroad," Nick said. "Too often we hear accounts of wild birds contaminating dining areas, food being served lukewarm, food being reused or reheated. It is unacceptable and increases the risk of bacterial contamination tenfold, especially in countries where there is a warm climate that bacteria such as Salmonella thrive on."

Following the BBC investigation, First Choice split the resort into 2 sections, continuing to run the Village while Thomson Holidays took over the Hotel Tropical, which was formerly part of the Holiday Village resort.

Nick concluded that the Holiday Village in Sarigerme is too big. "Consequently, with the resort accommodating up to 4,000 guests, it's impossible for reasonable hygiene practises to be sustained throughout the summer."

Simpson Millar LLP has already helped holidaymakers win compensation at other First Choice Holiday Villages. Claims were successful for 105 victims of a sickness outbreak at the Coral Sea Holiday Village in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, while the firm also assisted victims of an outbreak at the Rhodes Holiday Village.

The latter incident included a case of Legionnaires' Disease, for which First Choice Holidays admitted liability.

Other cases involved the Holiday Village Costa Del Sol, where a large group received substantial compensation after becoming ill from Cryptosporidium.

Recently Simpson Millar has won compensation for holidaymakers taken ill at the Holiday Village Flamingo Oasis in Lanzarote, and for a victim of E. Coli at the Holiday Village Manar in Tunisia.

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