Lawyers Reveal True Extent of Illness at Dominican Republic Hotel

Serious infections confirmed at Bahia Principe hotel, Dominican Republic

24.08.2007

Lawyers have revealed the full extent of the illness outbreak which affected hundreds of holidaymakers in the Dominican Republic earlier this month.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell, which is representing over 1500 clients who stayed at the Bahia Principe Hotel, San Juan, since April 2007, have revealed that laboratory tests undertaken on a number of their clients have confirmed the presence of serious infections including Salmonella, Giardia, Shigella, and Campylobacter.

The diagnosis of these illnesses among holiday makers who stayed at the 4 star hotel appears inconsistent with earlier statements made by the tour operator Thomas Cook.

In an official statement, a Thomas Cook Spokesperson stated, "The indications are that the sickness was viral in nature and that the vast majority of customers who were affected over the weekend have recovered within 12 to 24 hours of first experiencing symptoms. Very few new cases have been reported and only a small number of customers have experienced any re-occurrence of symptoms."

Clive Garner, Head of Travel Law at Irwin Mitchell said, "The results of laboratory tests on a growing number of our clients support the views already expressed by my firm and the Dominican Republic's own Public Health Department that British holidaymakers have contracted illness at the Bahia Principe hotel due to contaminated foodstuffs they consumed there.

"We have seen no evidence which would support assertions that the outbreak of illness at the hotel was viral in nature. At the same time, while some of our clients only suffered short term symptoms, many of our clients are still experiencing severe symptoms weeks after their initial illness commenced.

"The number of clients we represent continues to increase each day and our clients have had to endure the effects of significant illness, a ruined holiday and to add insult to injury there has been a lack of accurate information given to them about the scale of the illness outbreak and its cause, both before, during and after their holidays."

The Bahia Principe Hotel was the centre of one of the first successful group actions taken by guests who suffered illness at a hotel abroad. Law firm Irwin Mitchell brought the claim on behalf of over 100 clients who travelled with tour operators including Airtours and Sunworld (now both part of the Thomas Cook group) and Thomson (now part of TUI) between May and December 1997.

Most of these holidaymakers suffered severe gastric illness, some being left with permanent symptoms including Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Irwin Mitchell recovered over £500,000 for the guests at the Bahia Principe affected by the 1997 outbreak, with the most severely injured client being awarded £75,000 for her claim. Irwin Mitchell has also successfully acted for a number of other clients with claims for serious illness arising from stays at the Bahia Principe Hotel in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

If you have been affected by illness after staying at a hotel abroad, we can help claim compensation. Fill in our online claims form for free claims advice.