Mum’s fury over is­land epi­demic

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - Front Page - Ian Bunting

A young Ai rdr i e mum has hit out at a travel agent after her 10-month-old baby was in­fected in an out­break of hand, foot and mouth disease that has spread through­out Ma­jorca.

Gemma Whitelaw, 18, says she should never have been al­lowed to travel to the pop­u­lar Span­ish hol­i­day is­land with tot Ayla in the wake of the epi­demic. Baby Ayla was left “in agony” and cov­ered in spots, blis­ters and bumps after con­tract­ing the in­fec­tion dur­ing their week week­long stay at the Deya ho­tel in Santa Ponsa – less than an hour’s drive from the Club Mac ho­tel in Al­cu­dia where the out­break orig­i­nated.

Gemma has spo­ken of her “in­cred­i­ble anger” when she re­turned to home soil to read news re­ports re­veal­ing that up to 50 peo­ple have been af­fected by the disease.

She is now warn­ing other par­ents to avoid tak­ing their chil­dren to the Span­ish is­land.

Gemma Whitelaw was ex­tremely ex­cited to take her 10- month- old baby Ayla on her first hol­i­day abroad.

But what should have been a dream trip to the sun­shine for the young Air­drie mum turned into a night­mare as her lit­tle one con­tracted hand, foot and mouth disease.

Gemma, 18, has now slammed her travel agent and air­line for al­low­ing her to take baby Ayla to Ma­jorca after learn­ing that an out­break of the disease had af­fected up to 50 peo­ple on the Span­ish is­land.

Ayla was left “in agony” and cov­ered in spots, blis­ters and bumps after con­tract­ing the in­fec­tion, which Gemma says could have been avoided if she had been warned about the epi­demic be­fore trav­el­ling to the pop­u­lar tourist re­sort last month.

Gemma, of Peters­burn, told the Ad­ver­tiser: “I was in­cred­i­bly an­gry when I came home and read the news re­ports that nearly 50 peo­ple had con­tracted hand, foot and mouth disease in Ma­jorca.

“I’ve no idea why my travel agent On the Beach or Ryanair didn’t feel it was nec­es­sary to in­form me about what was hap­pen­ing, es­pe­cially when I was trav­el­ling with a 10-mon­thold baby.

“If I had known what was go­ing on I would have taken more pre­cau­tions or wouldn’t have gone in the first place.”

Gemma and Ayla spent a week in Ma­jorca with three of Gemma’s friends but it was not un­til their re­turn home that the teenager no­ticed some­thing was wrong with her baby.

Gemma said: “I saw a group of small spots on Ayla’s stom­ach, arms and legs and took her to the doc­tor.

“He told me he thought it was chick­en­pox but I wasn’t con­vinced as there were no spots on her face. They were only from her neck down.

“The next day the rash started to get worse so I took her to the phar­ma­cist while I was pick­ing up the calamine lo­tion the doc­tor had pre­scribed.

“When I ex­plained to the phar­ma­cist the spots were clump­ing to­gether he said he thought it could be hand, foot and mouth disease.

“After a long day of my baby girl be­ing in agony and cry­ing a fam­ily mem­ber showed me a news ar­ti­cle about Ma­jorca be­ing rife with hand, foot and mouth disease.

“I looked at the pic­tures and the vic­tims’ legs, feet, arms and bod­ies looked ex­actly like Ayla’s.

“I then dis­cov­ered the Club Mac ho­tel where the out­break orig­i­nated was less than an hour’s drive from our ho­tel, the Deya. It’s also highly prob­a­ble that we shared a plane home with peo­ple who stayed in the Club Mac.”

Baby Ayla is now “on the mend” but Gemma warned other par­ents to avoid trav­el­ling to Ma­jorca.

She said: “I had to take Ayla to the out-of-hours care at Air­drie Health Cen­tre last week­end as some of her spots got in­fected.

“She was given an­tibi­otics and I started giv­ing her Calpol to keep her tem­per­a­ture down.

“We’ve got cream to put on her rashes too and thank­fully she seems to be on the mend now.

“But it was a very wor­ry­ing time as she was re­ally un­well. You don’t want to see your baby go­ing through pain like that.

“I would strongly ad­vise other par­ents to avoid go­ing on hol­i­day to Ma­jorca un­til this out­break is erad­i­cated.

“It isn’t worth the risk as hand, foot and mouth is a hor­ri­ble disease for chil­dren to con­tract.

“This has cer­tainly put me off go­ing back to Ma­jorca, es­pe­cially as I would strug­gle to trust the travel agent and air­line to be hon­est about any fu­ture out­breaks.”

An On the Beach spokesper­son said: “This is the only in­stance of hand, foot and mouth disease that we have been made aware of at the Deya Ho­tel, Ma­jorca.

“Fol­low­ing Ms Whitelaw’s hol­i­day we were made aware that a num­ber of cases of the in­fec­tion had been re­ported at the Club Mac ho­tel in Al­cu­dia and as a re­sult we con­tacted all of our cus­tomers with a book­ing for this ho­tel to of­fer them al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion for their hol­i­day.

“The Club Mac has since taken sev­eral mea­sures to pre­vent the spread of in­fec­tion within the e ho­tel.”

When the Ad­ver­tiser con­tacted d Ryanair for a com­ment we were e told: “This is a mat­ter for the e Ma­jor­can health au­thor­i­ties.”

She was re­ally un­well. You don’t want to see your baby go­ing through pain like that

In agony Ayla’s legs cov­ered in sores


On the mend Ayla with Gemma and her mum Kath­leen

Out­break The Ho­tel Club Mac in Al­cu­dia Painful Ayla’s rash

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