An Alberta woman is sounding alarm bells after her daughter became ill with hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) at a Mexico resort.
Kat Boblin says she understands that HFMD is common in children, but feels the resort, the Royalton Riviera Cancun, is trying to sweep an outbreak under the rug.
“I said, I just want the other families to be aware of what is going on,” Boblin says, of dealing with the resort staff.
“And at that point they said, no, they wouldn’t, and that’s when they asked me to sign a non-disclosure agreement so that I wouldn’t go and tell anyone.”
She declined to sign the agreement and posted a warning to Facebook which has since had more than 30,000 shares.
Since going public with her experience Boblin says she’s been contacted by 54 others who stayed at the same resort and also had a child get sick with the same viral illness in the last three months.
“I’ve asked them all to please contact the resort as well as maybe write a review on TripAdvisor so that people can see that I’m not over-exaggerating this at all,” Boblin told Global News, from her home in Black Diamond.
“The hotel is still denying that there is an outbreak but I would say within three months, 54 children or families with multiple children that contracted it, I would consider that an outbreak for sure.”
On TripAdvisor there are multiple user comments reporting cases of HFMD at the resort.
Common travellers illnesses
Travel: Tips for flying while sick
Symptoms of HFMD include fever, oral lesions, and rash on the hands and lower body, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Rare complication can include encephalitis and meningitis, which can lead to death.
READ MORE: Edmonton travellers report ‘disgusting’ conditions at Cuban resort
There is no vaccine or medication to protect against the illness. It is spread from person to person either via direct contact or contaminated surfaces.
Boblin arrived at the resort with her partner and her daughter Feb. 18 for a week-long holiday. Four days into her trip her 19-month-old daughter came down with a fever, then a rash and blisters in her mouth and down her throat.
They saw the resort doctor who sent them to a Cancun hospital where they were given antibiotics.
She believes the resort should take a more proactive approach to stop the spread of HFMD and to alert other parents to the risk.
“Clearly there is something wrong with however they’re sanitizing, or whatever it might be.”
In a statement to Global News Blue Diamond Resorts said it has been made aware of 15 cases of HFMD at the Royalton Riviera Cancun since Dec. 2015, while in that span of time hosted 7,200 children at the resort.
“Due to the relatively low number of cases and the 3-6 day incubation period from exposure to onset of symptoms that create gaps between cases being reported, we have not considered this an ‘outbreak.’
“In addition to our regular hygiene protocols, we have instituted more rigorous internal escalation measures to better identify cases so that we can try and prevent the spread of the virus if new cases are detected,” the statement reads.
It also states Boblin was not asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement, but “a standard waiver as acknowledgement of receiving a service as compensation” after they gave her a late checkout time free of charge.
Boblin says her daughter is improving, and hopes their story will help others avoid going through the same experience.
“I don’t expect any compensation…all I was hoping for is perhaps I could spare a few other families from getting the virus as well. Or at least making sure they’re aware so they’re not scared like I was when she first started showing symptoms.”
Boblin and her daughter remain in quarantine, on the advice of her doctor, to prevent the spread to anyone else.