Urgent warning to tourists as hundreds fall ill with food poisoning in Turkey

An urgent warning has been issued by the UK Government to tourists travelling to Turkey after an usually high number of people have fallen ill with salmonella. According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), hundreds of cases of gastrointestinal illness in Britain this year have been linked to travel in the country.

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The data shared by the health agency claimed that between January 15 and July 19, there have been 241 confirmed cases of Salmonella, with the majority of them from April onwards following travel to the Antalya region.

Of the 93 cases for which detailed and confirmed travel information is available, the infected persons were staying in different hotels in Turkey and most cases report eating a wide variety of different foods within their hotel resort as part of an all-inclusive holiday package.

The health agency said: “While salmonella infections usually resolve with self-care at home, they can be more serious in young children, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals.”

It also warned travellers to only eat fruit they had peeled themselves.

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In April, the Mirror reported that around 25 tourists have been struck down by a food poisoning outbreak at a five-star resort in Turkey. 

At least one of the British holidaymakers – on all-inclusive deals with holiday firm TUI – has been hospitalised.

Families forked out up to £4,000 for breaks at the Rixos Sungate Hotel in the Mediterranean, which has 13 bars and restaurants including a so-called world food buffet and sushi diner.

Liam Garnett, 37, was placed on a drip after being hit with suspected gastroenteritis while on holiday with his partner Gabrielle, 30, and two kids over Easter. 

He is now among dozens of holidaymakers taking legal action against holiday firm TUI for the nightmare holiday at the Rixos Sungate hotel.

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He said: “It was horrible being ill, then seeing my children also suffering from sickness. The holiday was just a disaster and we want to know what went wrong. 

“There were others at the same hotel who were also ill and I know they are considering legal action too as you don’t book a five-star holiday expecting to spend most of it in bed with illness.”

Lawyers from Irwin Mitchell are investigating legal action against the tour operator and say they expect the number of claims to grow quickly. Jatinder Paul, from the law firm, said several families had suffered similar symptoms.

He said: “It’s very concerning that multiple families seem to have suffered from similar horrible illness symptoms at the same time, at the same resort. Naturally, they want answers as to how they have become so ill on a five-star holiday. 

“No one goes on holiday expecting to need medical treatment either in the resort or even on their return home.”

UKHSA is liaising with the travel industry body, ABTA, Turkish public health authorities and other international public health partners to inform investigations of these clusters.

A spokesperson from TUI said at the time: “We are concerned to hear of a small number cases at Rixos Sungate in Turkey, as health and safety of our customers is our highest priority.

“Our team at resort are in close contact with our guests and offering support where necessary. Our health and safety team are investigating in close collaboration with the hotel and we will remain in frequent contact with our guests.

“We’d like to reassure all customers that we regularly audit all of our hotels in respect to health and safety, including hygiene.”

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