The Return of Cryptosporidium in Spanish Hotels


The recent outbreak of Cryptosporidium at a Tenerife Holiday Village has highlighted the fact that there can be no let up by organisers of package holidays to Spain to do their utmost to ensure that the services of their hotels are safe to use.

The Return of Cryptosporidium in Spanish Hotels

Contaminated Water

Cryptosporidium is an infection that causes sickness and diarrhoea and is usually contracted from contaminated water. Outbreaks linked to hotels are often associated with water contaminated with human faeces.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s there were a number of high profile cases of mass outbreaks of Cryptosporidium at 'all-inclusive' hotels in Spain, the most notorious being at the Agumar and Alucudia Pins Hotels featured respectively by Thomas Cook and Airtours.

These Spanish Illness outbreaks led to the introduction of very strictly regulation, particularly in the Balearics, which has ultimately assisted holidaymakers in driving up safety standards and enabling them to sue their UK tour operators - even when the infection has been spread by a faecal contamination incident in a swimming pool that is not the direct result of the tour operator.

Years of Experience

In our experience, since the early 2000s, cases of Cryptosporidium have been more commonly associated with hotels in Egypt and Turkey. For example in 2010 Paul Stevens, Simpson Millar’s Group Travel Litigation Manager dealt with over 100 cases or suspected cases of Cryptosporidium at the Red Sea Holiday Village in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

It has therefore come as a surprise that with the strict hygiene regimes that apply in Spanish Hotels, that a hotel in the Canary Islands (a municipality of Spain) has seen a large swathe of people contracting the bug.

Regarding the increased levels of illness at the Holiday Village in Tenerife, Paul Stevens advises:

"This is the first case that I have known in years in which such a large number of Cryptosporidium has been associated with hotel in Spain. Cases of this nature are, in my experience, often associated with hotel swimming pools."

"We have heard reports of hotel guests deliberately excreting in the pool because they think it is funny to do so. In the event of a faecal contamination incident, it is essential that measures are taken to ensure that the pool water is rendered safe".

"While this will inevitably mean pool closure, tour operators will not be exposing their guests to a risk of diarrhoeal illness."

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