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Call For Urgent Action at The Holiday Village, Sarigerme, Turkey


In recent weeks HolidayTravelWatch has expressed concern at the high level of returning sick holidaymakers from the Holiday Village in Sarigerme, Turkey. Despite assurances provided by the British Tour Operator, this Organisation expressed concern for the lack of information and confidence being suffered by intending holidaymakers. HolidayTravelWatch continues to be contacted by family groups who have suffered illness at this hotel, including those affected by Salmonella. We are now very concerned to have received a report from one such family, who returned from the resort during the last week. They have all suffered with illness, and their two and a half year old son has now been confirmed as having contracted Cryptosporidium.

In our recent press release, we cited information about this hotel complex from 2006, which demonstrated that there was ’Faecal element in the swimming pool’ - fast forward to 2008, and again, in the same press release, we highlighted, ’Faeces on toilet seats...faeces in pool...pool emptied to add chemicals’. This was followed by our open letter to First Choice where we raised concerns as to ’many people being ill, some of whom, particularly children, suffered faecal accidents in the pool’.

We are therefore concerned that the reports of confirmed Salmonella have now been joined by a diagnosis of Cryptosporidium. We are also concerned by the many reports of faecal accidents within the swimming pools of this complex.

The UK Health Protection Agency advises through its website that, ’Cryptosporidium is found in soil, food, water, or surfaces that have been contaminated with infected human or animal faeces. Transmission occurs through animal-to-human or human-to-human contact. People may also be infected by consuming contaminated water or food, or by swimming in contaminated water (for example in lakes or rivers). Infection is frequently associated with foreign travel. The Health Protection Agency provides advice on controlling outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis. We monitor any outbreaks to try to find the source of the infection, so that we can help to prevent other people from becoming infected’.

In August 2008, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued their latest guidance on how to deal with faecal element in swimming pools. This guidance, amongst other advices, appears to be considered and recommended by the Federation of Tour Operators to their members. It demonstrates the possibility of various pathogens or bacteria entering pool water following such accidents. It highlights E Coli 0157:H 7 - Bacterium, Hepatitis A Virus, Giardia - Parasite and Cryptosporidium - Parasite, as the hidden dangers in such events. Of concern is the fact that the inactivation of the Cryptosporidium germ in chlorinated water can take ’about 15,300 minutes or 10.6 days’ (This is based on a measurement of ’1 parts per million (ppm) or mg/L free chlorine at pH 7.5 or less and a temperature of 77°F (25°C) or higher’).

We note the continued discussion and warnings about Chlorine-Resitant Cryptosporidium, particularly from the CDC.

Frank Brehany, the Senior Consumer Advocate for HolidayTravelWatch states:

“I wonder how many times I have to express concern over this complex, and the problems experienced by holidaymakers, before someone actually does anything about it? At which stage will those who sell these holidays, or indeed operate this complex, assume the mantle of corporate responsibility?”

He adds,

"I think that we have reached the point where it must be accepted that there is a considerable risk to the UK (see our article ’The Shameful Cost of Holiday Illness’), simply because so many holidaymakers are returning with serious illness. As there appears to be an ’apathy’ toward dealing with the serious problems raised by returning holiday illnesses, I shall now recommend that the following action be taken to deal with this particular problem:

1. That the UK Health Protection Agency make urgent enquiries into this complex and cordinate action to protect the health of returning holidaymakers, and those UK Citizens in close contact with each family grouping;

2. That the Turkish Health Authrities urgently respond to our previous request for action, and assist the UK Health Protection Agency in their work to stem the level of illnesses from this complex;

3. That the Department of Health, The UK Health Protection Agency and the British Medical Association support and facilitate uniform action from General Practitioners, to routinely obtain stool samples from returning holidaymakers, and order wide ranging tests to establish the nature of returning holiday illnesses;

4. That the British Tour Operator provide full assistance to the UK Health Protection Agency with regard to this complex;

5. That the British Tour Operator facilitate and provide to all holidaymakers who have stayed at this complex, full copies of the stool sample tests that were taken in resort, and the return of their stool samples;

6. That the UK Parliamentary Health Committee provide oversight and scrutiny on this important Public Health issue.

He concludes,

“Whatever I recommend, ordinary holidaymakers are now saddled with the after-effects of the conditions and illnesses they have endured. Firstly, holidaymakers must see their GP, no matter how ill they were, and provide stool samples, testing for Salmonella & Cryptosporidium. I again regret to say that it appears that the only way now open for holidaymakers to resolve these issues, appears to be through the form of a group action. I urge holidaymakers, like many others before, to contact us for free advice and assistance”.



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