A mother is furious after her eight-month-old daughter caught hand, foot and mouth disease during a holiday to Ibiza.
Keri Fullerton and her partner travelled with their daughter Imogen to the Family Life Club Aura for a holiday together in October last year.
However, halfway through their holiday, eight-month-old Imogen quickly became unwell.
“We booked a holiday through (UK-based travel company) Tui and travelled on October 3,” Ms Fullerton told Sun Online Travel.
“It was on the Saturday she started to get a bit unwell — she isn’t an unwell child and she was sick overnight a couple of times, which was really strange.”
Baby Imogen got hand, foot and mouth disease during the trip. Picture: Keri FullertonSource:Supplied
It was after she had spent the day in the kids’ club when the reps on-site noticed Imogen was ill.
“They noticed a bit of a rash on her and they said to go to the pharmacy and see if they had some lotion, which we did,” Ms Fullerton said.
“Within the next 24 hours, she was absolutely covered.
“It looked like leprosy; it was absolutely awful. She was so poorly. She was itching all the time as it blistered.”
Ms Fullerton told staff at the kids’ club, but she said there weren’t enough people on-site to help when the rash first appeared.
Keri Fullerton and her daughter Imogen. Picture: Keri FullertonSource:Supplied
“My main gripe with Tui is the fact that when she started out with the rash, we went to the desk and there was no rep,” she said.
“There was a training day that day so there were no reps available.
“There was just an A4 piece of paper pinned to a board saying there has been a recent outbreak of hand, foot and mouth at the hotel.
“However, another couple told us it had been up for a few days prior to us arriving at the hotel — Tui were aware of the outbreak prior to us arriving.
“Surely they have some duty of care to at least inform us of it before we travel so we can make the decision of whether to continue or not.
Imogen was unwell for three weeks after the holiday. Picture: Keri FullertonSource:Supplied
“I don’t think we would have gone, purely because she was eight months old and I wouldn’t have wanted to expose her to the risk knowing that there was an outbreak.”
Ms Fullerton even feared they would not be able to fly home after the holiday as Imogen was so unwell.
“Thankfully, we managed to get home and went to the hospital and had treatment.
“The hospital thought that it could leave her with some scarring,” she said.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is a viral infection common in children. It is not related to foot and mouth found in animals. It causes fever, general malaise and a rash and blisters.
Ms Fullerton said Imogen suffers from eczema, which can also become worse as a result of the virus.
It took baby Imogen three weeks to get better after returning to the UK, and Ms Fullerton ended up catching the virus from her daughter as well.
However, it is the way Tui dealt with the problem that angered her.
The notice warning parents that there was a hand, foot and mouth outbreak at the resort. Picture: Keri FullertonSource:Supplied
“Since we’ve got back, I’ve been in constant contact with them but they have been fobbing me off each time with generic apologies,” she said.
“They should be telling people before they travel as our holiday was ruined.
“We only had a couple of days (there) before she got ill.
“At first I just wanted to let them know we had a bad experience, but a token gesture from Tui would be fabulous as there has been nothing at all or even a genuine sorry.
“They told us: ‘We can’t be 100 per cent she caught it there.’
“But we didn’t leave the resort and the incubation period is a few days so it ties in exactly with her being there.
“Young children can be vulnerable to illnesses and they have failed in their duty of care.”
The rash spread over her body after playing at the kids’ club. Picture: Keri FullertonSource:Supplied
Her daughter became unwell halfway through their holiday. Picture: Keri FullertonSource:Supplied
A spokesperson for Tui told Sun Online Travel: “We’re sorry to hear that Imogen was unwell during her stay. We were aware of a small number of reported cases of hand, foot and mouth at the Family Life Club Aura in Ibiza.
“This type of infection, however, can occur in any situation, whether at home or on holiday.
“As a precautionary measure, as soon as we were made aware of the small number of cases of this common illness, we implemented additional health and safety procedures to help prevent the spread of the infection, as well as displaying posters alerting customers and providing practical advice.
“We’d like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all of the hotels we feature in respect of health and safety, including hygiene.”
Ms Fullerton then caught the illness from her daughter. Picture: Keri FullertonSource:Supplied
HOW TO AVOID CATCHING HAND, FOOT AND MOUTH
• Wash your hands often with warm soapy water — and teach children to do so
• Use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
• Throw used tissues in the bin as quickly as possible
• Don’t share towels or household items like cups or cutlery
• Wash soiled bedding and clothing on a hot wash
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission
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