A LEEDS couple whose dream trip to Egypt turned into a ‘holiday from hell’ when they both fell ill and one of them contracted a parasite are taking legal action.
Kayleigh Stannard, 26, and partner Luke Burns, 23, from Horsforth, were hoping for a relaxing holiday in the sun at the Stella Makadi Gardens Hotel in the Egyptian resort of Makadi Bay.
But both became poorly midway through the sunshine break organised by holiday firm Thomas Cook, experiencing diarrhoea and severe abdominal pains which continued to worsen as the trip went on. Kayleigh also later developed a rash on her leg.
Kayleigh, a Post Office worker, had to take a week off work due to ongoing symptoms and after visiting her GP she was diagnosed with Trichostrongylus – a parasite similar to hookworm which occurs through the ingestion of infected larvae (young insects). She continues to suffer from symptoms 10 months after the trip last November.
The couple described how on occasions they saw flies and insects around the eatery and birds inside the dining area.
They also noticed on occasions that a number of chefs and kitchen staff were not wearing gloves when handling food.
Kayleigh, who was forced to take a week off work while she recovered from the infection, said: “It was such a shock to return home and hear that I had contracted a parasite – the illness ruined the holiday for me and my partner, Luke.
“The conditions in the hotel’s dining area were worrying. We saw chefs handling food without wearing gloves quite a few times and on occasions there were insects and birds flying around where the food was being served and eaten.
“This was supposed to be a dream holiday but it quickly turned into an absolute nightmare – it should have been a holiday to remember but is definitely something I’d rather forget.”
Elizabeth Tetzner, a travel law expert from Irwin Mitchell, said: “We are now investigating how our clients became ill and how Kayleigh became infected with the Trichostrongylus parasite during a Thomas Cook holiday to the Stella Makadi Gardens Hotel in Makadi Bay, Egypt.
“We hope that Thomas Cook will now work with us to provide Kayleigh and Luke with the answers they clearly need about these issues to allow them to move on and put the experience behind them. Gastric illness can have a devastating, impact on people’s health and the effects of it cannot be underestimated.”
A spokesperson for Thomas Cook said: “The health and safety of our customers is of the utmost importance to us, and we are always concerned to hear of any illness reported while on holiday.
“We can confirm that we have been approached by a no-win, no-fee lawyer on behalf of Ms Stannard and Mr Burns. As a result, and while our investigation into the illness continues, we are unable to provide further comment so as not to prejudice any future legal proceedings.”
“We ask any customers who may have concerns relating to their holiday to contact us directly and as quickly as possible so that we can deal with them personally in an open, honest and fair manner.”