Family and Legal Team Backing Major Awareness Campaign
The mother of a girl who developed arthritis after contracting salmonella while on holiday in the Canary Islands has revealed that her daughter has “struggled” since being diagnosed with the joint condition.
Phoebe Bettey, from Plymouth, travelled to Lanzarote with her family in late July 2019. They stayed at the Holiday Village Lanzarote, run by tour operator TUI UK Limited. One week into the holiday, Phoebe fell ill with gastric illness, which was later confirmed to be as a result of salmonella.
Several weeks after she was diagnosed with the gastric infection, Phoebe, 11, went on to develop a secondary condition, reactive arthritis, which is described as joint pain and swelling triggered by an infection in another part of your body. She now requires medication and is under the review of a paediatrician.
Following her diagnosis of salmonella, Phoebe’s family instructed specialist holiday illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how she fell ill.
Phoebe and her family are now joining with their legal team in marking National Arthritis Week by raising awareness of the link between the condition and gastric infections such as salmonella and cyclospora.
Expert Opinion“The past year has been an incredibly difficult one for Phoebe, firstly contracting salmonella during a family holiday, and then to develop reactive arthritis shortly afterwards.
Due to the debilitating effects of the condition, Phoebe has missed several days of school and has had to cut back on activities she enjoys, such as football, which is understandably upsetting for her.
Reactive arthritis is often triggered by an infection of the bowel, such as food poisoning, but this is widely unknown. It is also widely unknown that illnesses such as this can affect both adults and children. As part of National Arthritis Week, we are hoping to help raise awareness of the condition and the links it has to illnesses such as salmonella.
It is also the perfect opportunity for Phoebe’s family to share their story, to show that there is support out there to help others affected.”
Jennifer Hodgson - Associate Solicitor
Phoebe was nine-years-old when she and her family went on holiday to Lanzarote on 25 July 2019, staying at TUI’s Holiday Village Lanzarote four-star hotel.
On 1 August, Phoebe began to feel unwell with symptoms of nausea, a headache and a high fever. She then began to experience diarrhoea, abdominal pain and vomiting.
She was diagnosed with salmonella following her admission to hospital in Lanzarote. The family flew home from Lanzarote on 8 August. At this time, Phoebe was still suffering from loose stools and abdominal pain.
Around a month after the holiday, Phoebe started complaining of puffy eyes and pain in her toes, legs and joints. She was diagnosed with reactive arthritis, which was believed to be linked to the salmonella infection she had contracted in Lanzarote.
Phoebe now takes anti-inflammatory medication and is being reviewed by a paediatrician. She continues to suffer from puffy eyes, swollen toes and painful legs and joints.
Her mum Jane Cray said: “Since our holiday to Lanzarote, Phoebe has struggled a lot. She is far too young to be dealing with something like this, and it is heart-breaking to know that she is in pain.
“Reactive arthritis was something I really didn’t know much about before last year and, like most people, I assumed it was probably a condition that older people suffer with.
“I wish I could turn back the clock and stop us from going on holiday last July, but I know this isn’t possible. I just hope that by sharing what Phoebe is going through, we will help raise awareness of the condition and the symptoms people should be looking out for.”
National Arthritis Week runs from 7 to 13 October.