A grandmother was ill for a month and lost a stone after she fell ill on a dream trip to celebrate the 40th anniversary of meeting her husband.
Julie Hughes, 55, from Runcorn, Cheshire, suffered violent vomiting and diarrhoea after a two week break at the luxury Sensimar Seaside Suites and Spa in Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Health chiefs in the UK have issued a travel warning for Brits heading to the area after dozens were struck down by cyclospora - a bug commonly associated with food poisoning and poor hygiene.
Those affected suffered agonising stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Julie, who was with her husband Peter, 54, was devastated after her trip was blighted as she was using part of her inheritance from her mother’s death to fund the £3,200 break.
The mother of two and grandmother of three said: “We were celebrating 40 years together and had been at the resort for over week when I started vomiting and having the most horrendous diarrhoea. I was in so much pain it felt like somebody was wringing my guts out.
“I could barely move away from the toilet for days and was going to the loo dozens of times in a day. I was physically drained.
“I went to see the doctor and they said that I would have to hospitalised if I didn’t get better in 24 hours as I was so dehydrated.
“I wasn’t any better the next day, but I was travelling home the day after and I just wanted to get back to the UK. The flight was a nightmare, but I was very glad that I was in a seat at the back of the plane near the toilet.”
Julie continued to be violently ill on her return, with the sickness lasting four weeks in total.
Julie added: “I lost a stone as a result of the sickness and I still have to watch what I eat a month on.
“I’m so disappointed that the holiday was ruined as we were using part of my mum’s inheritance to celebrate 40 years together. Instead of a romantic trip I ended up terribly ill.”
Amy Tudge, 22, from Windsor, Berks, was celebrating her third anniversary with boyfriend Edward Munsen, 23, at the same resort at the start of June for a week.
She said: “We came back thinking we had had the best holiday ever and planning to return again. But two days later we were struck down by the worst sickness and bad stomach we have ever had.
“I am very careful about what I eat and drink abroad as I don’t even have ice in my drinks and use bottled water to brush my teeth. The resort was the last place I would expect to get ill but when I went to the doctor on my return they said I had contracted cyclospora.
“We were both sick on and off for a month and it was awful. It’s so sad as we really wanted to go back, but I don’t think we could now after this.”
Leanne Oades, a travel lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who represents Mrs Hughes and Miss Tudge, said: “We have been inundated by people travelling to this resort and the Riviera Maya generally.
“All appear to have been suffering from the same debilitating vomiting and diarrhoea illness cyclospora that lasts for several weeks.
“This is a horrendous illness and confines many to their rooms for days. In many cases it takes weeks to recover. We would advise holidaymakers traveling to the area to avoid any foods that may have been washed in water.”
Health Protection Scotland warned UK travelers to be wary about the outbreak, which they say started in June this year.
Cyclospora is spread by infected human faeces contaminating water or food and previous outbreaks have been connected to fresh fruit such as raspberries and salad products such as basil and lettuce.
Riviera Maya suffered a similar outbreak of cyclospora last year where 79 people were confirmed with the bug when they returned to the UK.