A man who contracted a potentially fatal disease whilst on honeymoon in Venezuela has won £286,500 in compensation from the tour operator.

After their wedding, Julian Hurley, 50, and his wife Jayne went on a package holiday to South America with First Choice Holidays and Flights Ltd. Mr Hurley developed Shigella, a form of dysentery, which left him hospitalised for five days when he returned to the UK and in need of antibiotics and intravenous drugs.

During the holiday, the couple were particularly concerned about the quality of the food being served at their hotel. However, as they had booked an all-inclusive package holiday, they had taken very little spending money with them and so had no option but to eat at the hotel. The food was of a very poor standard with many dishes undercooked and some cold.

Five years on, Mr Hurley still suffers from the after effects of his illness. He suffers from irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder. As a result of these problems, he has difficulty walking long distances and gets tired easily, forcing him to reduce the number of hours he works.

After Mr Hurley brought a personal injury claim, the tour operator admitted liability and agreed to pay damages of £286,500.

Shigella is a bowel infection that can be spread by direct transmission and sometimes through uncooked foods. Although in the UK infections of this type usually cause only mild symptoms, strains caught abroad are much more virulent and potentially fatal if left untreated.

If you are on a package tour and suffer illness as a result of poor hygiene or some other preventable cause or you have an accident as a result of a lack of proper safety precautions, make sure you get as much evidence as possible and as quickly as possible. Photographs or films of unsafe areas and unhygienic food preparation procedures can be very useful in cases of accident or illness, for example. Also, make sure your complaints are formally noted in writing and given to the holiday representative and/or the resort manager and that you keep a copy. Exchange addresses with any potential witnesses or fellow sufferers. If you are admitted to hospital, retain a copy of your medical notes.

If through no fault of your own you have suffered a preventable accident whilst on holiday or had a holiday ruined by illness caused by procedural failings at your resort, contact us as soon as possible for advice on the next step to take.