Published: 17:00, 29 September 2014
A mum has told how she has been struck down with a potentially lethal waterborne bug after swimming in her hotel pool.
Zara Farrant - who had been looking forward to her break all year - has been left with crippling stomach pains and severe diarrhoea.
She says that her hotel pool was closed seven times in her two week summer holiday after teens were purposely defecating in it.
It is thought they were copying a character in the new Inbetweeners 2 film who does the same thing in a holiday water park.
Now she has told by her GP following tests, that she has caught Cryptosporidium - which could affect her for up six months.
The disease – which has an incubation period of between five - 10 days has been known in severe cases to cause kidney failure.
The 36-year-old, from Sevenoaks said: “It’s disgusting. I can’t believe anyone would want to do that.
“I can’t believe that I am still ill now this diagnosis has really got me down. The reps knew what was going on as they kept coming out on the loudspeaker to announce the pool was closed each time. People were really angry.
"They should have done more and put more staff out by the pool and kept an eye out.
"These kids thought it was a laugh but now I am left with the effects. My kids were looking forward to using the pool and we had saved up all year for this but it was closed half the time. ”
Zara and her partner Stephen Austin, 37 splashed out £4,500 on their dream holiday, taking with them their two children Alfie Austin, six and Louie Austin, three.
They had been excited about visiting the Holiday Village Benalmadena on Spain’s Costa Del Sol.
She said: “It was our main big holiday and we had saved up all year and thought it would be perfect but it turned into a nightmare.”
One day after arriving the pool was closed after a hotel guest had discovered faeces in the pool. This was a familiar pattern for the next seven days causing uproar among the guests.
She added: “It just got beyond a joke and my kids were really upset and so were we. The pool was closed for hours at a time while they removed the offending items and cleaned the pool.
"We had saved up and chosen this place specifically because of the pool for the kids. They were really upset. This went on until the eighth day of our holiday when the manger had to come out and try and calm things down.”
Zara said she was later told that it was a couple of teenagers who were holidaying and had left the resort.
Elsewhere in Europe at the Holiday Village in Egypt other teenagers had been doing the same thing as part of a new craze dubbed “logging”.
Bosses handed the guests a letter threatening them with eviction and fines for doing it.
Zara said after the teens had left the pool was open as normal but a few days later she came down ill with shivers and severe diarrhoea.
She added: "I was really ill for around 12 hours and felt very sick and couldn’t really leave the room. But then I managed to fight it off and continue with the holiday. I thought it was just a temporary bug.”
But days after flying home she came down ill again with severe stomach cramps and diarrhoea leaving her bedridden.
“This horrifically disgusting behaviour of deliberately pooing in pools has taken off this summer" - Nick Harris, Simpson Millar solicitors
She then went to her GP for tests and was shocked to discover she had Cryptosporidium.
She said: “When I was told what I had I couldn’t believe it especially when they told me it is spread in water.
"I hadn’t been near any since I was back. It was the last thing I was expecting but then it hit me about the swimming pool and what the lads were doing. I must have caught it there when I was in the pool swimming. I felt physically sick.”
Now still suffering the effects of the bug, Zara is taking legal action against the holiday firm.
Travel expert Nick Harris of Simpson Millar solicitors said: “This horrifically disgusting behaviour of deliberately pooing in pools has taken off this summer.
"Regrettably I have been contacted by dozens of holidaymakers reporting these so called “Code Brown” or “logging” incidents.”
“But what these idiots perpetrating these crimes don’t realise is the harm they can cause others who innocently ingest human faecal matter.”
Dr Lisa Ackerley, visiting professor of environmental health at University of Salford - an expert on holiday illnesses who regularly appears on BBC1s Watchdog, added: "There are all kinds of risks associated with people pooing in the swimming pool.
"It’s becoming a really serious problem. Even though people might think they are healthy they could be carrying all kinds of diseases that can be spread by water. A typical problem is the bug cryptosporidium which chlorine in the pool cannot always destroy.
"This totally unacceptable and selfish behaviour causes a serious health risk and massive inconvenience and expense to tour operators and other holidaymakers."
First Choice has been approached for a comment.