Canadian parents say their children contracted rashes at Mexican resorts

Several Canadian families say their children contracted infectious rashes while visiting a popular resort area of Mexico. They believe the rashes were contracted during a suspected outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease, a mild viral infection that can cause sores or rashes to develop in various areas of the body.

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Last week, an Alberta woman posted a photo online of small red bumps that had developed all over her 18-month-old daughter’s legs following a trip to the Royalton Riviera Cancun resort, a popular tourist destination near Cancun, Mexico.

“She started out with a fever and what I thought were bug bites at first,” Katrina Boblin, of Black Diamond, Alta., told CTV Calgary. “Then the fever got worse and she started vomiting.”

Boblin said the resort offered to let her stay for longer free of charge, but wanted her to sign a non-disclosure agreement. She refused the deal and took to social media to tell others about the experience instead.

“I just wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to happen to anybody else because it was awful,” Boblin said. “I'm making a point to notify any families with children while I am here,” she wrote in the post.

As of Sunday morning, her Facebook post had been shared nearly 25,000 times.

In a statement to CTV Calgary, the resort said it is aware of the outbreak and is taking “extensive precautionary measures” by frequently cleaning areas such as Jacuzzis, children’s play rooms and other public spaces.

“As the health and safety of our guests are of the utmost priority, we take great care and dedication to prevent the spread of any germs on hotel grounds,” the statement said.

“On a daily basis, we engage in extensive precautionary measures and thorough sanitization practices, including the following: maintenance of pool and jacuzzi chlorination levels and filter systems; daily sanitization of all guest rooms and public spaces including the Kids Clubhouse and Hangout Teens Club; and thorough restaurant cleanings, which includes disinfecting high chairs and wrapping them in plastic cling wrap between use.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience or concern these unforeseen circumstances may have caused our guests. As always, we encourage guests to practice good hygiene by using hand sanitizers provided throughout the resort. We ask that if a guest is exhibiting Hand Foot & Mouth symptoms during their stay with us to immediately visit our onsite medical doctor.”

Meanwhile, a mother from Kamloops, B.C. said her 16-month-old son experienced similar symptoms after a visit to a nearby resort in Tulum, Mexico.

Brandy, who asked for her last name to be withheld, said a doctor in Cancun diagnosed her son with hand, foot and mouth disease. The doctor told Brandy he had recently issued several prescriptions in what he suspected to be an outbreak of the disease, which is most common in children.

Jason Kmet, a pharmacist at the Polaris Travel Clinic in Calgary, said scientists are working on a vaccine for hand, foot and mouth disease. But for now, the best prevention is to wash hands and surfaces often.

Symptoms of the disease can include fever, sore throat, blisters and the development of a rash. In most cases, symptoms of the disease clear up with time or mild medication, but there can be complications, Kmet said.

“Very rarely, it can turn into a more serious neurological problem,” he said. “Most of the time, it passes through time.”

With a report from CTV Calgary’s Alesia Fieldberg


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