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Shigellosis compensation claims - Introduction

Shigellosis is a type of bacterial food poisoning contracted through the consumption of contaminated food and water. Shigella bacteria is a common cause of food poisoning on holiday, typically experienced by holidaymakers returning from emerging holiday destinations where food safety standards may be lower.

Around 1,800 cases of shigellosis are reported to the Health Protection Agency each year. This number represents the number of patients who are diagnosed with shigellosis via a stool test after visiting their GP. It is thought that most cases of shigellosis are not reported to a doctor so this figure may represent only a fraction of the actual number of people infected with the shigella bacteria.

Holidaymakers who are diagnosed with shigella dysentery may be entitled to make a claim against their tour operator.

What is shigellosis?

Shigella is a bacteria found in:

  • Local tap water that does not meet safety standards
  • Food, especially meat, that has been exposed to human faeces as a result of sub-optimal food hygiene
  • Food that has been left out too long or is exposed to insect and other contamination
  • Un-chlorinated swimming pools.

Exposure to shigella bacteria causes shigellosis, a type of dysentery. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever.

In the majority of cases, shigellosis will clear up by itself within one to 14 days. Medical attention may be necessary for patients who are at risk of dehydration through persistent dysentery, such as children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Occasionally, shigellosis can cause long-term gastrointestinal problems including irritable bowel syndrome and rectal bleeding.

Getting an independent medical assessment of the potential long-term effects of shigellosis is a crucial step in the claims process. This ensures the maximum appropriate level of compensation is claimed having regard to the long-term prognosis for the condition.

Who is at risk of contracting shigella dysentery?

The prevalence of shigellosis is significantly higher among holidaymakers taking confined-hotel holidays in emerging holiday destinations such as Turkey, Egypt, Cuba, the Cape Verde Islands and the Dominican Republic. However, shigella dysentery may be contracted anywhere in the UK or abroad.

Crowded hotels pose a particular risk. This is because shigella is highly infectious at very small quantities. One contracted, the illness can spread rapidly from person to person either directly or via contact with toilets, door handles and taps which have been contaminated with infected faecal matter.

Do I have a shigellosis claim?

The Package Travel Regulations 1992 apply if the shigella dysentery was contracted on a package tour holiday. Under these Regulations, a claim may be brought against the tour operator for poor hygiene or food handling by providers in the hotel. The case will be governed by UK personal injury law.

For a holiday that was arranged independently, local food safety legislation will apply to the claim. The claims process varies widely from country to country.

Food poisoning cases can be difficult to prove. Often, tour operators will try to deny liability on the basis that the contaminated food was consumed outside the hotel or that the illness outbreak was viral and outside the tour operator's control. Acting promptly to consult a specialist solicitor to discuss your options and gather evidence can improve the chances of making a successful claim.

Understanding No Win, No Fee compensation agreements

A shigellosis infection No Win, No Fee compensation claim effectively begins once the injured Claimant signs up to a Conditional Fee Agreement (or CFA) with their solicitor.

Your Conditional Fee Agreement defines the terms between you and your lawyer.

The agreement sets out the work your solicitor will provide and a success fee to be taken from the compensation after they win the case.

Find peace of mind knowing that you will never be out of pocket. There are no hidden charges with a Quittance solicitor.

How much compensation can I claim for shigellosis?

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

Holiday illness case study

£29,378 compensation for cryptosporidium infection View case study