Couple Celebrating Tenth Wedding Anniversary Among Those Affected
A family of five have instructed lawyers to investigate after they were struck down with gastric symptoms during a five-star holiday in Mexico.
Katie and Ashley Richards, from Derby, travelled to the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort and Spa in Cancun, Mexico in July this year with their daughter to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary. They were joined on the two-week trip, which was booked through tour operator TUI UK Ltd, by other family members forming a party of ten.
Most of the family fell ill during the course of the holiday with some still suffering symptoms following their return home. They have now instructed specialist international serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate.
Expert Opinion“Katie, Ashley and their family were really looking forward to their holiday in Mexico, as it was a time for the whole family to get together for a holiday abroad following the restrictions placed by Covid, while also celebrating a special occasion.
Our clients understandably have many questions regarding their illness and we’re now investigating these. If, during the course of our investigations, any issues are identified, it’s vital that lessons are learned to help prevent other holidaymakers from falling ill in the future.
We would be interested in speaking to anyone who may have been impacted by illness at this hotel who would be able to assist with our investigations.”
Nadhia Akthar - Solicitor
Katie, 33, a nurse and Ashley, 34, a territory sales executive, arrived at the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort and Spa with their daughter, Ruby, six, on 20 July. Holidaying with them were Katie’s parents, Alison Whitmore, 60, a primary school administration assistant, and Philip Whitmore, 61, a former chef.
Katie began to feel unwell on 26 July, with vomiting and diarrhoea. Within three days, Ashley and their daughter and nephew had also fallen ill, with Ashley bed bound for part of the holiday.
Alison and Philip started to feel unwell on 28 July. By the following day, both had diarrhoea and complained of tiredness, sweating and stomach pains. They were bed bound for three days.
Following the family’s return to the UK on 3 August, both Katie and Ashley’s symptoms have continued, with both having lost weight. They’ve also been to see a GP.
Alison and Philip have also spoken with a doctor regarding ongoing symptoms with Philip being informed that he tested positive for Cyclospora, a pathogen that can be contracted by drinking unclean water or eating food that has not been cooked thoroughly or washed with clean water.
Katie said: “When we landed in Mexico, we were looking forward to two weeks of sun and relaxation. Ashley and I had honeymooned in the Riviera Maya area, and we had such a fantastic time back then that we agreed to bring our daughter on holiday on our ten year anniversary. Sadly, our trip was nothing like that. Instead, most of us spent most of the second week unwell.
“I recall some of the food, including chicken, appeared undercooked and was served lukewarm. New food was added on top of the existing buffet and some items were totally dried out and inedible. I also noticed that salad, yoghurts and cottage cheese weren’t kept chilled, and the cutlery and crockery were often dirty or stained. We also saw a lot of flies around the food, as well as cats, birds and raccoons hanging around. I even found a maggot in the salad one evening. It’s really not the standard you expect from a five-star hotel.
“The worst part was seeing most of the family become ill and distressed and there being nothing we could do about it. It’s more than a month since we got back and we’re still not 100 per cent, which indicates how ill we were.”
Philip said: “I was shocked when I was told by the doctor that I had Cyclospora and learned about how it can be contracted. I did not expect to visit a five-star hotel and contract such an illness. Being a retired chef with 40 years of professional catering experience, I did notice some concerning issues around food hygiene as the holiday went on, but I never thought that most of my family would become so unwell.”
Katie added “While there’s nothing that can be done to change what we’ve been through; we just want some answers as to how this happened in the hope it might help stop it happening to others.”