The Hidden Danger of Hotel Carpets
Could Dangerous Infections such as E. coli and Salmonella be hiding in your Hotel Room Carpet?
Every year thousands of holidaymakers suffer from traveller’s diarrhoea caused by an infection that is usually associated with Salmonella or E. coli.
Through helping our clients to make a claim against their tour operator, we have found that these types of infections are usually due to negligent hygiene standards, particularly at all-inclusive buffets and in kitchens. New research has been reported in The Mirror that suggests that the usual problem area of resort restaurants may not be the only cause of cross-contamination at resorts, with carpets being an unsuspected culprit.
The Risks Posed by Dirty Carpets
One of the UK’s leading authorities on food hygiene and public health, Lisa Ackerley, has explained in The Mirror how the carpets in our homes and at hotels can soon become home to harmful infections such as E. coli:
“It can be found in human and animal faeces meaning that if pets use the carpets as a toilet, the bacteria can found there”, also adding that “just because carpeting looks clean it doesn’t mean that it is”.
Leave Your Shoes at the Door
Of course this is something that researchers and members of the public have been aware of for some time, and the idea of an infectious carpet is more obvious than you might have thought. Many of you may have a childhood memory of being told to take your shoes off inside, and research at the University of Utah supports this.
Their study found that 90% of the bacteria that is present on your shoes, including E. coli, can be transferred to tiles and carpets indoors.
Our shoes go through a lot throughout the day, and can come into contact with a wide variety of unclean surfaces such as bathroom floors and pavements, all of which can contain less visible traces of animal and human faeces which can be transferred to the soles of our shoes, and subsequently everywhere that we walk in them.
The traditional approach of removing your shoes at the door and leaving them outside may well be the answer, but in public places such as hotels, this isn’t always possible.
Advice on Hotel Carpets and Flooring
Our Group Travel Litigation Claims Manager, Paul Stevens, has expressed his concern over the risks that holidaymakers could be exposed to when entering an unclean room, and has the following to say:
You have to remember that you do not know what has happened in a room at your hotel before you were there. In many of the cases that we deal with, our clients have experience illnesses that induce vomiting and diarrhoea, which can result in cross-contamination with surfaces including flooring. If your hotel room and carpets are not thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, you could be exposed to whatever infection caused the previous occupant to become ill.
If you contract E. coli you could experience more serious health complications beyond vomiting and diarrhoea, including Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) wherein an E. coli infection results in kidney failure. Suffering from HUS can lead to the necessity of a kidney transplant, a procedure which can have its own complications and negative effects on your long-term health. There is no excuse for tour operators placing holidaymakers in hotel rooms that are not fit for purpose.
The rules relating to the obligations of the tour operators responsible for organising package holidays are quite simple when it comes to hotel cleanliness, and they have an obligation to ensure that you are safe during your holiday. Tour operators must ensure that the hotels that they offer as part of a package holiday have a proper system in place for ensuring that guest rooms and public areas are cleaned properly.
Group Travel Litigation Claims Manager
What to do if Hotel Conditions are Poor
If upon arrival at your resort you find that conditions are poor and that your room looks shabby or unclean; don’t put up with it. You could be exposing yourself, your family or other members of your holiday party to a wide range of holiday ruining infections.
Make sure that you advise the hotel staff and your tour operator that you’re not happy and expect to be moved to a room or resort with better standards of hygiene.
Can you Claim Compensation?
We are currently dealing with a number of holiday compensation claims on behalf of holidaymakers who have suffered illness at hotels. In most cases the cause is due to the negligence of food handlers or those involved in the food supply chain, but it is apparent from this research that there are other causes of cross-contamination at hotels which could render tour operators equally culpable in the event of negligence.
What to do if you Become Unwell
If you have suffered an illness at a resort whilst abroad and want to make a claim against your tour operator, you should gather as much evidence as possible. No matter how insignificant it may feel at the time, photographic evidence of poor hygiene including dirty hotel rooms, birds and cats at open buffets and in resort restaurants, waiters wearing dirty clothes, and undercooked ‘pink’ chicken, may go a long way to proving a potential claim.
Keep written records of any complaint that you have made so far and seek legal advice if your illness has lasted longer than 3 or 4 days, as there may be grounds for claiming compensation for your loss of holiday enjoyment, as well as for your pain and suffering. If you have begun to make a complaint to your tour operator, it’s important to receive legal advice before accepting compensation, as once you have accepted, you may be unable to claim again.
Free Advice on your Illness Claim
We are currently receiving high levels of holiday illness enquiries from those returning from destinations such as Tenerife, Cuba and Mexico. We can provide you with a free no-obligation consultation on your claim, including advice on the best course of action to take.
So if you have become ill at these locations or anywhere else abroad, we would like to hear from you. If you choose us to represent you we can provide you with no win no fee’ terms, meaning that you won’t have to pay us for your holiday illness claim unless we are successful.
If you want to find out more about your rights and how to make a claim, then get in touch with us today.