Hand foot and mouth outbreak at TUI resort after baby swam in ‘dirty pool water’

A devastated dad has warned families with young children not to book a stay at a luxury five-star resort in Cancun after his 14-month-old son contracted hand foot and mouth disease from what he claims was "dirty pool water".

The child's dad said he wished he knew about the outbreak in a Trip Advisor review and claimed he saw "at least six other families who were dealing with the same exact thing" with their infants.

He said his son was only able to enjoy one day of the holiday and spent a whole day in a Mexican hospital before being handed a hefty medical bill and a hand foot and mouth diagnosis.

Alongside the review, the dad, believed to be from Canada, shared images of his son's scabs, which are likely to have developed from blisters.

Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa confirmed the hotel had suffered hand foot and mouth outbreak to Daily Star Online and said the disease had infected guests between January and February 2020.

It is unclear who the family booked with but the Royalton Riviera is currently available to Brits through UK travel provider TUI .

Popular holiday booking sites such as booking.com and Kayak also advertise the luxury resort, with prices starting from £751 a night.

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In a review of the resort posted to TripAdvisor, the child's dad shared his concerns about the hotel, hoping to reach families with young children "before they book".

He wrote: "This place is a hand foot and mouth haven, I wish I knew this before I book my £15,000 trip.

"I really don’t even know where to start here.

"My 14-month-old son was able to enjoy 1 day of swimming on a 7 day vacation.

"We woke up on the 2nd day and noticed a breakout of some sort all over his body.

"We called the resort doctor and in respect to him he was excellent.

"He came to the room right away and he told us that it looks like some sort of reaction and to keep him out of the sun and water for 2-3 days and to treat him with a hydro cortisone so we did that.

"Our 14-month-old sat in his stroller in the shade as advised, the next day we wake up and it was just terrible, it spread to his hands, mouth and back."

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Not knowing what to do, the dad said he took his son to hospital, where the doctor diagnosed the little boy with hand foot and mouth.

In the TripAdvisor post, the parent wrote: "I did not know what to do so I took my son to the hospital and spent a day of my vacation in a Mexico hospital and going from pharmacy to pharmacy looking for the correct drugs for him.

“A total of 6 hours gone that day while my wife and 3 other children stayed back at the resort worried about what was going on.

“After a £2500 bill I was told it was hand foot and mouth and a reaction caused from dirty pool water.

“I get back to the resort and couldn’t help but noticed at least 6 other families who were dealing with the same exact thing with their infants.

“Crying babies covered in a rash, it was completely heart breaking to see children under the age of 2 dealing with this and the frustration of parents who spent their hand-earned money to enjoy a week vacation and have to deal with this.

“It gets worse, my wife went on to speak with the manager of the resort to speak about what was happening there, we didn’t ask for money back or any sort of reimbursements, all we wanted was for the resort to acknowledge they have a hand foot and mouth issue and that it should be communicated to travel agencies and health Canada so that families booking a trip know that this is happening.”

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In the post, the child’s parents claim management “took no ownership” or “sympathy” towards the issue at the resort.

He wrote: “We were told by the manager of the resort that “we don’t have any problems on our resort and that this disease is something that 'your country' and 'your people' bring.

“They should be ashamed of themselves, completely unacceptable and classless.

“What a shame because the resort itself is absolutely stunning, food is great, service was great, really had nothing else to complain about besides this and unfortunately it was a huge issue.

“I will not be going back and I hope this review reaches families with young children in time before they book their next vacation and chose Royalton.”

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Responding the post on Trip Advisor, Director General Alfonso Lopes at Royalton Rivera Cancun Resort and Spa, wrote: "Thank you for your message.

Rest assured our operations team is doing everything in their control to stop the spread of the infection.

“As you may now Hand Foot & Mouth Disease is a viral infection that lasts 7-10 days, symptoms are uncomfortable and include a rash and fever.

“We are advising all guests to ensure they are maintaining a high level of personal hygiene, washing their hands and using sanitiser throughout their stay to protect themselves against germs.

“All of our pools and hot tubs are chlorinated and levels are measured regularly throughout the day.”

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In a separate post, another user, Mark G, said he and his family had a bad experience at the resort from “check in to check out.”

He said: "Upon check in, the 8 people in our party were talked into upgrading to the “Diamond Club”.

"We were promised butler service and many other premium upgrades. In reality, all we got was access to a deserted pool, with no entertainment, and access to 1 additional restaurant, which was easily the worst restaurant we tried during our trip.”

Mark said he noticed many things while at the resort, that he did not expect from a 5 star hotel, but things worsened on check out day.

He said: “Finally, the check out day has arrived and I’m thinking everything will be fine once we return home.

"Not so fast, I have contracted the hand, foot and mouth disease from my son and I’m writing this review with a fever and blisters.

"I paid a premium price to go to the Royalton Riviera thinking this was a top 5 star resort but ended up being a sub-par 3 star resort at best.”

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Post Travel Manager, Bettina Zimmerer, of Royalton Luxury Resorts told Daily Star Online: "We are empathetic ad we understand everyone being upset about this situation, including ourselves, as we are also exposed to it, however viruses are present at airports, airplanes, buses, hotels, day care centres, playgrounds, schools and mostly everywhere.

"While the total number of infected guests remains under 1% of guests welcome to the resort in January and February 2020 to date, our team takes every illness seriously and has taken all possible measures to ensure a safe and healthy vacation environment, exceeding preventative measures and enforcing strict sanitation protocols.

"It is important to note that Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease, one of the 10 most common childhood illnesses, is non-life-threatening, typically self treatable and resolves within days.

"In addition to abiding by all local and national regulations, we also have a dedicated Quality Manager emptied at the resort who worked in conjunction with Saniconsult International Standards, a world-renowned company dedicated to not only maintaining but also exceeding standards.

"The Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease virus is quite common and often spread by coughing, sneezing, or direct contact with someone who is already affected.

"Usually children and in very few cases senior citizens are infected; however, this virus is as simple as catching a common cold, regardless we take our guest´s health very seriously and have protocols in place to ensure a healthy environment.

"Our hotel count high standards in health and safety and be assured, that the hotel carries out a special deep cleaning and disinfection in the Kids Club, Pool, Restaurants, common sanitary installations etc.

"Such as on High Chairs of our little travellers and if required in the Hotel room in order to avoid that any virus such as the common Hand Foot & Mouth Disease expands.

"Following strict rules and regulations our pools are in daily controls and are monitored so that all our valued guest have a relaxing and memorable stay with us."

Daily Star Online has contacted TUI, booking.com and Kayak for comment.

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