A County Durham woman has told of her holiday from hell after being struck down with a gastric illness during a birthday holiday to a five-star sun resort. 

Jill Craig, from Stanley, travelled to the Riu Cabo Verde in September this year to celebrate her 40th birthday with her partner Andrew Weatherley.

The two-week trip was booked through tour operator TUI UK Limited, with the pair looking forward to their two weeks of sun and luxury.

The Northern Echo: Jill Craig, from StanleyJill Craig, from Stanley (Image: CONTRIBUTOR)

During the holiday, which took place between September 10 and September 24, Jill fell ill with gastric symptoms including stomach cramps, diarrhoea and nausea.

The retail worker sought medical advice at the resort and was put on an IV drip.

She saw the hotel doctor who recommended she attend the clinic.  She underwent blood tests and was put on an IV drip.  She was also given medication.

The Northern Echo: Jill in hospital and her partner Andrew by her bedsideJill in hospital and her partner Andrew by her bedside (Image: CONTRIBUTOR)

Once home, Jill attended her GP and was prescribed further medication.

More than two months on, Jill continues to struggle with exhaustion and nausea.  The illness has also affected her psychologically.

She said: “I’d been looking forward to the holiday for a long time as it was to celebrate my birthday and I needed a break.

The Northern Echo: A dirty glass at the hotel resortA dirty glass at the hotel resort (Image: CONTRIBUTOR)

“When I started to feel ill, I wasn’t too concerned, but I got worse as the days went on and ended up on a drip.  By that point, I was worried about what was wrong with me.

“Thinking back, I remember on several occasions there being flies on the food, which was often left uncovered and served lukewarm."

Jill added: "New food was added to existing food, and the glasses in the restaurant were dirty and chipped. 

The Northern Echo: Flies on the food at the Cape Verde hotelFlies on the food at the Cape Verde hotel (Image: CONTRIBUTOR)

"I also recall there being a smell of sewage around the pool area and black mould on the tiles.

“The holiday and my birthday were ruined and, to this day, I’m still not 100 per cent. I know there’s nothing I can do to change what happened - I just want some answers.”

The Northern Echo: Jill is now taking the issue up with a legal teamJill is now taking the issue up with a legal team (Image: CONTRIBUTOR)

Following her return to the UK, Jill continues to suffer symptoms and she’s now asked expert international serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her illness.

It’s the second year in a row that British holidaymakers to the resort have instructed Irwin Mitchell to investigate gastric illness.

The Northern Echo: Flies on another piece of food at the buffetFlies on another piece of food at the buffet (Image: CONTRIBUTOR)

Last year more than 100 people asked the law firm to investigate following an illness outbreak at the hotel, and hundreds of other holidaymakers have instructed the firm following illness at other Cape Verde hotels in 2022. Their cases are ongoing.

Nadhia Akhtar, the specialist international serious injury solicitor at Irwin Mitchell representing Jill, said: “The first-hand account we’ve heard from Jill about the symptoms she’s suffered is concerning.  We’ve also had reports from dozens of other holidaymakers who also fell ill at the Riu Cabo Verde.

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“Gastric illness is serious, the effects of which should never be downplayed.  In some cases, it can lead to long-term health problems.

“We’re now investigating Jill’s concerns. If any issues are identified, it’s vital that lessons are learned to prevent other holidaymakers from falling ill in the future.

“As part of our investigations, we’re keen to hear from anyone else affected while staying at the Riu Cabo Verde, in Cape Verde.”

TUI did not respond for comment in the timeframe given to them.