Investigations have revealed a number of cases of Legionnaires’ Disease were reported by holidaymakers who stayed at the same hotel in Turkey in September and October of last year.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has confirmed that seven cases of Legionnaires’ Disease involving residents staying at the Sun City Hotel in Olu Deniz, Turkey in September and October 2018 were notified to them.
As part of an ongoing legal representation of a man who needed hospital treatment on his return from holiday, Hudgell Solicitors has also received confirmation from Public Health England of other cases of Legionnaires’ Disease of guests who stayed at the same hotel.
Thomas Molloy, 64, of Beverley, East Yorkshire, turned to the specialist travel litigation team at Hudgell Solicitors to investigate his case after spending six days on a hospital Acute Admissions Unit and needing antibiotics to treat Legionnaires’ Disease, which is caused by inhaling water droplets infected by legionella bacteria.
He began to feel unwell on the last day of his 10-day break with his wife Jean at the Sun City Hotel last September. When he got home he felt so ill he went to hospital, where was told he had the lung infection and was placed on antibiotics.
Today, four months on, he says he still doesn’t feel completely recovered, and his daily activities have not returned to the norm.
“It really had a big impact on me and I needed to have five weeks off work after I returned home from hospital because I felt so weak and had so little energy,” he said.
“I do feel mostly recovered now, but before this I used to be able to do things like go to the gym and exercise. When I have tried recently I just don’t have the energy and quickly feel out of breath.”
Mr Molloy, a St John Ambulance first aid trainer, had previously had a kidney transplant, and feared a long-term impact on his health as a result.
Recalling how he felt during his holiday, he said: “I began to feel really poorly on the last day of the holiday and became really weak and short of breath. On the day we were flying home I wasn’t even able to stand for very long in the queues or pull our bag. It was quite frightening.
“We had some really high temperatures throughout our stay and it was really humid and I wondered whether I was suffering from dehydration. As it was so hot we spent quite a lot of time in our room with the air conditioning on. You don’t for a minute think it could be Legionnaires’ Disease when you feel unwell.
“It could have been really dangerous given I am a kidney transplant patient.”
Lawyer says confirmation of more cases is ‘significant’
Lawyer, Anne Thomson, a travel litigation claims specialist at Hudgell Solicitors, said: “The confirmation of a number of reported cases of Legionnaires’ Disease is a very interesting and significant development in this case and it is something we will be investigating further.
“Whilst the ECDC and Public Health England cannot confirm that the hotel itself was the actual source of the infection at this stage, it is certainly the case that this was not an isolated matter.
“As part our ongoing investigation in this case we are asking the hotel to demonstrate its commitment to ensuring standards for controlling legionella in water systems are met and maintained to protect guests and staff.
“Hotels are susceptible to this dangerous bacterium given it develops in water systems. Large complexes which have many water systems from showers and air-conditioning systems to hot tubs must have excellent health and safety systems which are fully compliant with regulations at all times.
“There were a number of people leaving reviews on TripAdvisor for this hotel last September and October suggesting there had been evacuations due to suspected Legionnaires’ Disease.
“We have contacted travel operators TUI with regards to this matter in this case and we are still awaiting their response.
“Symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease can take some time to develop and can be flu-like. Mild forms can cause fever, chills, headaches and muscle aches and can resolve themselves after a number of days, so it is possible that more people may have been affected.
“However, contracting Legionnaires’ Disease can be highly dangerous. The risk increases with age, and for people over 45, or who are already suffering from serious conditions such as chronic respiratory or kidney disease, it can be very serious.
“Holidaymakers booking through established operators and paying substantial amounts of money expect high standards of safety and cleanliness at all times. There are clear regulations with regards to Legionella which must be met at all times.”