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cancun beach Watch out for the salads.

British tourists struck down by parasite — for the fifth year in a row

Cyclospora bug triggers health warning by Scottish authorities

For the fifth year in a row, British tourists have been struck down by a nasty parasite after eating contaminated food at resorts in Cancún and the Riviera Maya.

A report published today in the British newspaper Daily Express said that at least 14 British nationals have recently been infected with the cyclospora bug, which is spread by food and water contaminated with human feces.

The parasite causes nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea and loss of appetite, and can be particularly dangerous for people with weak immune systems.

The latest outbreak in Quintana Roo has prompted Health Protection Scotland to issue a warning that advises anyone who has recently visited resorts in Mexico and is feeling ill to seek medical attention.

A travel advisory on the public health authority’s website states that “all travelers to Mexico are strongly advised to maintain a high standard of food, water and personal hygiene even if staying in luxury resorts.”

Since 2015, almost 600 Brits have been affected by the cyclospora bug while visiting Cancún or the Riviera Maya or after they returned home. The area was the subject of a Public Health England warning three years ago after hundreds of people were struck down by the parasite.

Authorities in the United Kingdom believe that the number of cases this year will rise rapidly as a number of resorts in Quintana Roo are believed to be affected by the latest outbreak. Evidence suggests that food deliveries from third parties are to blame.

Salad ingredients such as lettuce, herbs including mint, coriander and basil, and soft fruits like raspberries are particularly susceptible to being hosts to the cyclospora parasite.

Nick Harris, a lawyer who represents more than 450 victims of past and current outbreaks, said that this year he has been contacted by people who fell ill while staying at five different resorts.

“But I understand there are others affected and as this is peak season like other years it has the potential to spread like wildfire,” he said.

“People have saved all year only to be let down by their tour operator at the first hurdle. They knew this bug is rife in Mexico but haven’t told people, preferring to keep quiet . . . Tour operators need to do more instead of putting profit before the safety of their customers who have put their trust in them.”

Source: Daily Express (en) 

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