A British tourist marking his anniversary in Mexico contracted a potentially deadly foodborne parasite that left him vomiting blood.
“We went out for a meal on our first night and had a really nice time,” Chris Gillian told UK television station ITV, according to The Sun. “But almost a week in, I’d woken up feeling funny.”
Gillian’s queasiness worsened as the day went on, until he nearly passed out as he and his wife, Marisa, were lounging poolside at the resort.
“I started to get really bad headaches and feel really dizzy, so we went back to the hotel room,” he said. “I remember laying on the bed and I just had this sudden urge that I was going to throw up.
“I barely made it to the sink and just threw up what I can only describe as just blood.”
Gillian was rushed into a hospital, where he was plied with painkillers and antibiotics.
One of his doctors couldn’t speak English, but Gillian recalled hearing one word over and over: “Parasite.”
He later found out that he was afflicted by cyclospora, a potentially life-threatening parasite typically caught from eating food contaminated with feces, the report said. He also found out that he wasn’t alone.
Hundreds of British tourists — many of them in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America — have been wracked by cyclospora over the past three years, but popular tour company Tourism Union International never gave its customers any warning, said Gillian’s lawyer.
“There was a duty placed on TUI to tell customers before traveling to Mexico, the moment that they knew of an outbreak in the resort, something that was likely to affect people,” said Nick Harris, who is also representing hundreds of other cyclospora victims.
Gillian, who was discharged from the hospital after 24 hours but kept on a restricted diet for the remainder of his anniversary, said that he doesn’t want cyclospora to ruin anyone else’s vacation.
“I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through,” he told ITV. “I want someone to take responsibility. I want someone to hold their hands up and say, ‘Yes, we knew there was a problem, but unfortunately we didn’t fix it that time.’ It’s as simple as that.”
TUI said in a statement to ITV that it regularly inspects the resorts it deals with for cleanliness.
“We’d like to reassure customers that we regularly audit all of the hotels we feature in respect of health and safety, including hygiene,” the statement said.