The Daily Mail reports that British tour operators Thomas Cook and Thomson are facing lawsuits after sending tourists to Club Hotel Riu Mambo, Riu Merengue and Riu Bachata, where hundreds fell ill – hotels to which American and Canadian companies had ceased sending tourists.
British tourists infected with the virus ended up on intravenous drips in their hotel rooms. In a statement, they claim their symptoms were misdiagnosed as ‘tummy upset’ and that they were given ‘wholly inappropriate’ medication. One mother is quoted as saying, ‘It was horrendous. Used needles and drips were just dumped in bins in the hotel room and we never saw the doctor or nurse wash their hands before or after treatment.’
Thomas Cook and Thomson suggested in their reports that the bug was airborne and passed from human to human and had nothing to do with hotel hygiene standards. However, they have both stopped sending tourists to the three hotels and are offering alternative accomodations or a refund.
The Dominican Republic, which has more than 200,000 British visitors a year, earned the nickname the ‘Septic Isle’ after a spate of food poisoning incidents. In 1997, an outbreak affected 500 tourists staying at 35 hotels and three women also caught typhoid.
A survey by the Consumers’ Association the following year found that seven out of eight Dominican hotels were serving meat contaminated with bacteria including E.coli.