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Campylobacter Bug - Holiday Illness Advice

Campylobacter is a major cause of food poisoning whilst on holiday. It is the most common reason for illness in many countries and is routinely implicated as a cause of travellers’ stomach upsets. Despite being considered to be the most commonly unreported cause of food poisoning in the UK, many travellers are still expected to pursue successful compensation claims in 2014.

Whilst these organisms are usually responsible for a large number of sporadic cases where the source is unknown, Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors can help you seek compensation for a holiday marred by this type of infection. Provided that the food you eat and drink is prepared and handled as it should be, you should not suffer from ill-health caused by Campylobacter food poisoning.

What is Campylobacter?

Campylobacter bacteria clings to foodstuffs and on ingestion it hits the stomach, leading to severe gastroenteritis.

It thrives in animal and bird intestines, and spreads through food affected by warmth and heat. Hotel buffet food which is permitted to rest at normal room temperature is where campylobacter breeds most readily, particularly where food is allowed to cool.

Campylobacter was initially identified almost 40 years ago, and according to a recent BBC news article, a Food Standards Agency survey revealed that Campylobacter is present on 65% of chicken meat bought in Britain.

How will I know if I have Campylobacter food poisoning?

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The illness incubates for between 2 and 5 days – and sometimes around 10 days – after consuming the contaminated food. If you have campylobacter, you'll feel unwell and you'll notice the following symptoms:

  • Severe diarrhoea which could be bloody
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever and headache
  • Muscular aches
  • Vomiting and sickness (this is less common)

Sickness can last about 21 days and you will usually recover with no long-term effects but, worryingly problems have been known to come back later.

Sometimes you can suffer from a complication like Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a secondary condition that affects the nervous system in 1-in-1000 Campylobacter suffers) or Miller Fisher Syndrome (which attacks head nerves).You could suffer from Reiter's Syndrome, or reactive arthritis, if you are prone to this chronic condition, which normally affects the knees and spine.

What food is related to Campylobacter?

Holiday illness Campylobacter bug

The infection may be from a wide range of animals and from man, and also from water and foods of animal origin,particularly poultry, meat and milk.

Consuming chicken that has not been properly cooked accounts for almost three-quarters of all food poisoning outbreaks. Campylobacter can also be found in pork, lamb, seafood, eggs, red meat and in fresh but unwashed fruit and vegetables, particularly if the produce is contaminated by rodent or bird droppings.

Un-chlorinated water and un-pasteurised milk are also sources of campylobacter. See our facts page for further information about holiday campylobacter food poisoning.

What else can lead to Campylobacter food poisoning?

At many foreign holiday hotels, birds often scavenge in kitchens and dining rooms, and you could be infected just by touching a contaminated surface like a table.

A significant reason for infection is when you forget to wash your hands after touching infected bird or unknowingly come into contact with animal droppings. The bacteria can end up on the food, and then be transferred to your stomach.

Why does Campylobacter occur on holiday?

Outbreaks of campylobacter often happen at foreign hotels, especially where mealtimes are pre-arranged, such as on all-inclusive vacations. Infected food can spread the bacteria to other foodstuffs, which can quickly cause a illness outbreak! An ambient temperature of 43°C is the perfect source of campylobacter. This type of poisoning is known as communicable, which means the infection can be readily spread by any infected human, bird or animal.

Virtually all foreign holidays in hot climates pose risks of campylobacter. Among the regions that have prompted people to contact our qualified holiday illness claims team for Campylobacter compensation are: Egypt; Tunisia; Turkey; and Cuba amongst many others.

Get in touch for a chat about how we can help you by filling in our quick, no obligation enquiry form and we will call you back or you can call us directly on 0808 145 1353.

How did I Contract Campylobacter on Holiday?

Fortunately, campylobacter are fastidious in its growth requirements and is susceptible to heat so it is usually killed by the majority of cooking procedures used to kill such bacteria in food. The bacteria are usually passed to holidaymakers through failings in hygiene practices including the following:

  • Fruit and vegetables are not washed properly
  • Hands should be cleaned thoroughly after preparing things like raw chicken, fruit and vegetables
  • Food handlers who are unwell should not be permitted kitchen work
  • Poultry must be heated to at least 165°F
  • Meat should always be fully defrosted and completely cooked through at the proper temperature
  • Unpasteurised milk should be avoided
  • Cooked and uncooked foods should be kept apart, in preparation and in storage, to limit the threat of cross-contamination

I have caught Campylobacter on holiday. How do I claim compensation?

We have helped many people claim compensation and have many years experience in claiming compensation for victims of campylobacter. Simpson Millar LLP can take up no win no fee campylobacter food poisoning cases and can arrange competitive insurance payable at the end of the claim (£150 + 6% tax). Our travel lawyers can help you whatever country was the source of your illness.

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