Holiday Illness Claims
On holiday illness claims benefits

Campylobacter Food Poisoning Claims - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Campylobacter?

Campylobacter is a bug which often causes food poisoning on holiday to British travellers. Infection often causes symptoms which include:

Holiday Food Poisoning
  • watery diarrhoea
  • nausea
  • abdominal pains
  • cramps
  • fever
  • dehydration
  • a general feeling of weakness and tiredness

It is one of the most common causes of food poisoning on holiday, only beaten by salmonella.

Who gets Campylobacter food poisoning?

Anyone is at risk of being infected with Campylobacter, but young children and the elderly are more vulnerable.

Those who travel to countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia and the Dominican Republic are at greater risk.

How do you get Campylobacter food poisoning?

Holidaymakers can get infected by eating food the bug is found in. Most raw meat, especially chicken, contains Campylobacter. Other foods that can be contaminated are shellfish and mushrooms.

Poor hygiene in the kitchen is a common problem. Staff not washing their hands, and using the same utensils or surfaces for both raw and cooked foods can increase your risk of illness.

It is also possible to catch the illness from contact with animals and animal waste.

How can you make a claim for compensation from your tour operator for Campylobacter food poisoning?

Claims for compensation can be made against your tour operator if it was a package holiday, meaning that flights and accommodation were sold in the UK all for one price.

The law says that tour operators selling package holidays are responsible for the actions of the hotel. There is a contract between you and the tour operator for the holiday they have sold you.

Because of the evidence needed to support a compensation claim, and the fact that the incident occurred abroad, it is strongly recommended that you seek help from a specialist travel solicitor.

Is it worth making a claim for food poisoning against my tour operator?

Yes. The amount of compensation in food poisoning claims against tour operators can be substantial.

An important factor in the amount of compensation you’re entitled to is the length of the illness. If you have been ill for over 10 days and can prove the tour operator has broken the contract, you may receive over £1000 for pain and suffering. On top of this, there are several other things you can make a claim for if it was a direct result of being ill, including loss of enjoyment, where the holiday or even just part of it, has been ruined.

Some tour operators send questionnaires to holidaymakers. They are designed to reduce the amount of compensation you are entitled to! We advise holidaymakers to seek advice from a qualified travel lawyer before completing them.

What are they symptoms of Campylobacter and how long do they last?

If you suffer from Campylobacter food poisoning on holiday the symptoms usually start within two to five days, but it can be up to 10 days. In our experience, most cases start to clear up after two to three weeks, although the symptoms can last longer due to high temperatures abroad and dehydration. Some holidaymakers are unfortunate enough to experience long term complications including irritable bowel syndrome and various food intolerances.

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How do you treat Campylobacter food poisoning?

Most people who have Campylobacter recover without treatment, though it can sometimes take several weeks to feel 100% better. It is essential that infected holidaymakers drink plenty of fluids as diarrhoea can often lead to dehydration and the loss of important minerals from the body. Your GP may suggest a re-hydration solution, available from your local chemist.

Holidaymakers who suffer severe Campylobacter food poisoning abroad may be given antibiotics. If you are given antibiotics on holiday be careful, as some drug such as Streptoquin can cause severe side effects and are banned in the UK.

Travellers given antibiotics such as Streptoquin, Antinal and Ciprofloxacin by hotel doctors in Egypt to treat viral infections should question their motives. Antibiotics are used to treat food poisoning from bacterial infections and are useless against viruses.

Do you need to stay off work or school?

While you are ill and have symptoms, the bug is contagious and therefore it is advisable not to return to work. The Health Protection Agency advises that travellers can return to work or school after they have been free from diarrhoea for 48 hours.

The employer should be notified that you have had a Campylobacter infection, especially if you work with vulnerable groups such as the elderly, or children, or if you handle and prepare food.

More information about Campylobacter food poisoning on holiday is available on this website.

If you have concerns about your health visit your GP, contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647, or visit the website, and then talk to us about making a claim for compensation.

Call us on 0808 145 1353 for free initial advice or complete our online enquiry box and one of our qualified travel lawyers will call you back. Alternatively, you can email us at