‘A dirty pool, lukewarm food and animals feeding off the table’ - Sheffield family struck down by severe illness during Mexican holiday

The Barraclough family from Sheffield were struck down by a severe illness on holiday in Mexico
The Barraclough family from Sheffield were struck down by a severe illness on holiday in Mexico

A Sheffield family have described their ‘holiday nightmare’ after being struck down with a severe illness in Mexico.

The Barraclough family, from Shiregreen, booked a two-week dream break to the luxury Sandos Caracol Eco Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Just days into the holiday mum Sarah, 33, began suffering with diarrhoea and vomiting.

A few days later her husband Mark, 33, began suffering from similar symptoms and their children Alexander, three, and Bryony, seven, also both fell ill.

The illness was so bad, mum Sarah said she wished the family had ‘stayed at home’ after spending around £4,000 on the trip.

All four members of the family are still experiencing symptoms since their return to the UK in June this year and have received treatment from their GP.

Sarah said she continues to suffer symptoms and has been told by her doctor that she may be suffering with post-infective irritable bowel syndrome.

The Barraclough's flew over 4,800 miles for their dream holiday only to be struck down by a severe illness. Picture: Google Maps

The Barraclough's flew over 4,800 miles for their dream holiday only to be struck down by a severe illness. Picture: Google Maps

Medical tests confirmed both children were infected with Cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting.

The family described filthy conditions, a dirty swimming pool and wild animals eating off tables in the hotel restaurant at the supposed luxury resort.

Sarah and Mark said they were concerned about the hygiene standards at the resort when they arrived. They added some of the food was served lukewarm and on occasions ‘reused for meals’ throughout the day.

The couple added other holidaymakers seemed to be suffering similar symptoms to their own.

Mum Sarah, a health care assistant said: “All four of us were really looking forward to what we thought was going to be an amazing holiday in Mexico. Our children were very excited about the prospect of swimming with dolphins but this was spoiled when I fell ill.

“The fact the kids also got ill just added insult to injury and we want to know what caused our illness. We have real concerns about the standards of the hotel in general, as well as the food hygiene practices in place there.

“I really feel our complaints during our two weeks there were not taken seriously and the whole experience ended up being a complete let down and not at all what we expected when we booked the holiday with Thomas Cook.

“We are still not 100 per cent and simply wish we’d never gone on this holiday as it was a complete nightmare and we’d never knowingly put the health of our children at risk. We want to know what caused our illness and are seeking answers from Thomas Cook.”

They have instructed expert international personal injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate what caused the illness that completely ruined their holiday, which was booked through Thomas Cook.

Irwin Mitchell currently represents two holidaymakers who fell ill at the same hotel in 2015 and the experts handling the case have also been contacted by a second family-of-four who spent two weeks at the Sandos Caracol in June 2016 who experienced similar problems as the Sheffield family.

Clare Pearson, an expert international personal injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing the families, said: “The illness the Barraclough’s suffered during their break in Mexico was very stressful for them and significantly impacted their enjoyment of the holiday.

“It is extremely concerning to hear that other holidaymakers may have been suffering the same problems and that the illness outbreak may have been more widespread than these two families.

“We know from experience that Cryptosporidium can cause a great deal of discomfort for victims and can lead to longer-term problems that people may never fully recover from.

“We have now begun our own investigations into the cause of the illness suffered during their holidays and we would urge anyone else who suffered gastric illness symptoms while staying at the Sandos Caracol to contact us to help with our investigations.”

A spokesperson for Thomas Cook said: “Nothing is more important to us than the safety and wellbeing of our customers, and we will always work with our hotel partners to investigate any sickness or incidents reported while on holiday. We are in discussions with the Barraclough’s solicitors on their claim.”

Fit for Travel - an NHS group specialising in health and wellbeing while abroad - has issued a warning to holidaymakers travelling to the Riviera May region of Mexico.

To read their advice, visit http://tinyurl.com/zglpwy2