Guide to Campylobacter Holiday Claims

Campylobacter is a common cause of diarrhoea for holidaymakers on all-inclusive package holidays, and can result in a ruined holiday at foreign resorts and hotels with lapses in hygiene.

Food poisoning can result in a nightmare holiday for you and your family, and in this guide we're going to explain what Campylobacter is, what causes it and how to avoid infection. We will also explain how to claim compensation from your tour operator if you or your loved ones have suffered from an outbreak.

Campylobacter Food Poisoning Information

Food poisoning caused by different species of the Campylobacter bacteria is collectively called Campylobacteriosis, and this harmful bacterium can usually be found in contaminated food, dairy products, and un-chlorinated water, but can also be carried by insects, animals, and people who have become infected.


If you contract Campylobacter you'll likely experience a general feeling of illness, followed by severe diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Vomiting is rare but can occur, as can blood and mucus in your stool and a fever.

Campylobacter can be difficult to diagnose on the basis of symptoms alone and can often be confused with appendicitis due to the severe pain and fever.

It's important not to self-diagnose and treat yourself, as you might make a misdiagnosis and make your condition worse.

Incubation Period and Duration

The symptoms caused by Campylobacter can take between 1 and 10 days to manifest, but generally emerge within 2 to 5 days. Once infection has taken hold, symptoms usually lasts for between 2 days and a week, but health complications such as irritable bowel syndrome and reactive arthritis may develop in the longer term.

Preventing Infection

Campylobacter is a harmful strain of bacteria, meaning that an outbreak can be prevented. Aside from avoiding contaminated food and water, practicing good hygiene can prevent your holiday from being ruined.

While it's uncommon for infected people to spread Campylobacter, it's important to wash your hands after going to the toilet and before consuming food. If you take children to see animals at a farm or zoo it's vital to make sure that their hands are washed frequently during your visit, as animals are a common source of infection.

Top Tip – Antibacterial gel and wipes provide an easy way to keep your family safe when out and about.

How Can I catch it?

There are many different ways to contract Campylobacter, with the following causes being the most common among British tourists abroad:

  • Undercooked or raw food – Meat is considered a high risk food and if it's not cooked properly it can cause food poisoning, with raw chicken and pork posing the highest risk.
  • Wild birds at buffets – Harmful bacteria is often carried on the beaks and claws of birds who have previously fed at landfills, sewage farms, and other contaminated locations, and they can spread bacteria through defecation and pecking at open buffets and barbecues.
  • Contact with wild animals – Contact with infected wild animals such as cats and dogs, as well as animals at zoos and farms can cause you to contract this dangerous bacterium, so avoid contact or wash your hand thoroughly after touching them.

Are Certain Countries More at Risk?

Food poisoning can happen anywhere where poor food hygiene is prevalent, and while incidents in the UK aren't unheard of, there are some places abroad where Campylobacter outbreaks are more prevalent.

We find that package holiday destinations such as the following are the most common locations where holiday illness outbreaks occur:

Who's to Blame?

If your holiday was booked as a package holiday and you became ill due to poor hygiene or consuming contaminated food at your resort, then according to The Package Travel Regulations 1992 your tour operator is at fault. Your tour operator is responsible for every aspect of your package holiday that they sold to you for a single price, including your flight, accommodation, meals and safety.

This means that if you became ill as a direct result of your stay at your resort, you may be entitled to claim compensation from your tour operator.

Receive Legal Advice before Contacting Your Tour Operator

If you write to your tour operator after suffering food poisoning caused by campylobacter on your package holiday, you might find that you won't receive the same level of personal treatment that you did when booking your break abroad. Many holidaymakers find that contacting their tour operator directly with a complaint about an illness at their resort is a frustrating process, with some tour operators attempting to put people off of making a claim, providing unfounded excuses and delays. The in-house legal team at your tour operator may try to settle your claim at a fraction of its true value or with vouchers and gestures of goodwill, making it vital to receive legal advice before pursuing a holiday illness complaint.

Excuses used By Tour Operators

Some tour operators will do all that they can to avoid paying out compensation, and might try to dissuade you from pursuing a claim with statements such as the following:

"Campylobacter symptoms can take between 1 and 10 days to develop meaning that there are countless possible sources of your infection. Our customer travel hundreds of miles to experience life in a different country and invariably visit the local bars, restaurants and cafes and purchase ice creams, milkshakes, snacks, teas, coffee and so on, any one of which could have caused food poisoning during your time abroad."

Travel Law Specialists

Our experienced travel law specialists can relieve you of the stress and frustration of handling a Campylobacter claim against a tour operator on your own. We can provide you with expert legal advice on the best course of action to take and strive to ensure that you receive the compensation that makes a difference.

If you've contracted Campylobacter at your resort, we can usually claim compensation for the following:

  • Loss of holiday enjoyment for the time you were unwell
  • Medical and pharmacy expenses
  • Transport costs due to your illness
  • Loss of earnings upon returning to the UK
  • A lump sum for your pain and suffering

Receive Health Advice and Support Your Claim

Following symptoms of Campylobacter food poisoning, it's vital to seek out medical help as soon as you possibly can and receive a diagnosis and treatment for your condition to prevent any further complications. One of the benefits of receiving treatment rather hoping that your condition will improve on its own is that you might be able to save the rest of your holiday.

It is also advisable to report your illness to the management at your resort, as well as your holiday representative. It's important to insist that you receive a confirmation and copy of the report, as this will play an important part in your claim for compensation when you return to the UK.

Make a Claim for Compensation

It only takes a few minutes to find out if you're able to make a claim following a bout of food poisoning caused by Campylobacter. Our travel law specialists can provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation on your claim and advise you of the amount of compensation to expect and the best course of action to take.

Our dedicated travel law specialists can provide 'no win no fee' terms on every holiday illness case that we handle, meaning that we won't take a penny from you unless your claim is successful.

Find out More

If you want to make an enquiry about an outbreak of Campylobacter at a hotel, resort or cruise ship, then please complete our online enquiry form and we will call you back, or alternatively call us directly on on 0808 145 1353.

Get In Touch

Nick Harris - Marketing Director & Partner - Manchester

Nick Harris
Head of Holiday Travel Claims

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